Being the woman of the year requires a lot.
And South Whidbey resident Debbie Daumen more than met those criteria and was celebrated as the South Whidbey Kiwanis Zeller Award winner.
“Debbie is a worthy recipient,” said Bob Welch, the club’s president, listing her many qualifications.
“Most of all was her enthusiastic spirit to help kids and work with kids.”
Daumen is the advisor for the Kiwanis Builders Club at Langley Middle School. The service group has a similar focus of aiding children and mothers. Recently, the Builders collected jackets and other items for the homeless on Whidbey and made blankets for youths at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
“It was definitely an honor,” Daumen said. “I was truly surprised.”
Establishing a “woman of the year” award followed the Kiwanis initiative to eliminate tetanus by inoculating babies and their mothers. The “Eliminate” project is the global focus of Kiwanis International, with every club expected to contribute. Some 675 mothers have been inoculated with Kiwanis International donations.
“Countries are being crossed off as women have received inoculations for the dreaded tetanus virus,” Welch said.
The board of directors established a “woman of the year” committee which listed a host of women in the South Whidbey area for consideration as the first recipient of the Zeller Award.
Some of the criteria for the award was the woman’s involvement in the community, ties to the South Whidbey Kiwanis club, her impact on kids, inspirational qualities, and who best represented the Eliminate project.
As the Builders Club advisor for six years, Daumen has guided dozens of students to service projects. This year, there are 18 middle schoolers registered with the Langley Middle School club that meets weekly. Last year, the club raised over $1,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital in addition to delivering blankets to cancer patients there, raised $800 through a coin drive for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, did a food drive for the Good Cheer Food Bank around Thanksgiving and collected toys for South Whidbey’s Holiday House.