Tickets on sale for Delano Citizen of Year Banquet

Event will honor Debbie DeBeer for volunteer career


Debbie DeBeer
Debbie DeBeer

The General Federated Women’s Club of Delano is selling tickets for the 2014 Delano Citizen of the Year banquet honoring Debbie DeBeer. The event will be Saturday evening, April 26, at the Delano American Legion.

Tickets are $22.50 and can be purchased from any Women’s Club member or from Pat Sawatzke at the Downtown Beauty Salon, 228 N. River St., Delano, Wednesday through Saturday. For information, contact Sawatzke at 763-972-3939, Jeanie Pilarski at 763-972-3360 or Alice Fink at 763-972-2527.

Four community members nominated DeBeer for this honor, citing her work with the Wright County Master Gardeners and the Big Woods Garden Club, and her time served as volunteer coordinator and community liaison for Delano Public Schools, Girl Scout leader, president of the 2000 Delano Dream Team, member of Dream Team II, founding member of the Delano Area Council for Arts and Culture, president of the city of Delano Historic Preservation Committee, coordinator of monthly speakers and events for the Delano-Franklin Area Historical Society and active member of the Delano Food Council.

According to the nomination, DeBeer was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1981 with a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy. She moved to Minnesota in 1985 due to her husband Harry’s career with Cargill. They were relocated to Bangkok, Thailand, in 1989 and Singapore in 1992, returning to Minnesota in 1997.

The DeBeers chose the Delano area because of its size, proximity to the Cargill office and the school’s reputation. Debbie saw real potential in Delano and, with four children in the Delano school system, she wanted to give as much of herself as possible to the community.  The children are now adults, all living in or close to Delano.

“She has been a driving force behind several community improvement projects in Delano, including the Sculpture Garden, restoration of the old Delano City Hall (Community/History Center), Heritage Festival, remodeling of the Delano Public Library, Old Fashioned Christmas in Historic Downtown Delano, farmers markets on Wednesday and Saturday, the Delano Community Garden, and decorating and landscaping in downtown Delano,” said Women’s Club spokesperson Chris Brazelton.

“Described as a true catalyst, DeBeer does not hesitate to take a leadership role when there is a need to be addressed or a new vision to be implemented,” Brazelton said.

When DeBeer is not working on community projects, she is busy archiving activities of organizations in scrapbooks. Her hobbies include gardening, reading, photography, and varied arts and crafts. She also enjoys travelling and has accompanied her husband recently on many business trips around the world.

In addition to honoring Delano area citizens for their contributions to the community, the Citizen of the Year banquet is held as a fundraiser for the Women’s Club. Funds raised are funneled back into the community in several ways, supporting community projects such as the Central Park gazebo, riverfront park, Concerts in the Park, the Delano Library, Operation Smile, the March of Dimes, and several others.

Other fundraising activities include the Snowflake luncheon each February, ongoing Singing Telegrams and volunteering at bingo at the Delano American Legion, among others.