‘Silent’ volunteer is Citizen of the Year

By Sara Bruestle | Aug 07, 2013
Photo by: Sara Bruestle Kathy Wisbeck was honored as a Citizen of the Year on July 31 at the Harbour Pointe Golf Club.

Kathy Wisbeck has been named Mukilteo’s Citizen of the Year.

The Kiwanis-sponsored award is given to a Mukilteo citizen to recognize the outstanding contributions he or she has made to the city. Couples may also be recognized.

Wisbeck was honored at the Mukilteo Kiwanis Club meeting on July 31.

“It’s very nice of them to honor me,” she said. “There are so many dedicated volunteers in Mukilteo, I felt very fortunate to have been selected.”

Kiwanis received several letters nominating Wisbeck over the years.

The letters noted the countless hours she has worked as a leader and volunteer for a variety of community service and fundraising events in Mukilteo, year after year.

“If anyone needs help, Kathy is there, no questions asked,” wrote Steve and Darlene Conklé. “She is a very giving person and a credit to our community.”

Eight judges – all former Citizens of the Year – voted unanimously to give the award to Wisbeck, said Tim Taylor, a judge.

“She’s one of those silent people in the back who are there at 6 in the morning,” Taylor said.

“She seems to be everywhere. She doesn’t ask for any credit. She’s always there to help, and she does it with a great attitude, it doesn’t matter what kind of event. It makes a difference.”

Of Wisbeck’s many contributions to Mukilteo, noted in the letters were these:

She volunteered for the Mukilteo School District for many years, including for fundraisers, field trips and classroom projects, in the student store and the school library, as a one-on-one tutor and an art docent.

Wisbeck also served as Camp Fire USA leader for her daughter’s troop and volunteered for her son’s baseball and soccer teams.

“As the kids were growing up, I was fortunate enough to have time to get involved at their schools and in all their activities,” she said. “Once they didn’t want me anymore, what kicked this all off was the Friends of the Community Center.”

Wisbeck served as president and secretary of the Friends of the Community Center, formed in 2002 after it was announced the Rosehill Community Center would close in 2008.

“While we didn’t preserve a historic building in Old Town, I believe our group can be credited with bringing community attention to the need for a Parks and Recreation Department,” she said.

The group also advocated to keep Rosehill open until there was a plan for a new building and to build the new City Hall in the center of town and not next to the community center.

She is now very involved in the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival Association. Wisbeck served as co-executive director in 2006 and again in 2007, although she’s helped ever since the city cut the festival’s budget in 2004.

“I helped Darlene [Conklé] for two years,” Wisbeck said. “We were a top team, I tell you. It was a lot of fun. She had the expertise, and I had the connections.”

Wisbeck has been a member of the festival board for four years, serving as chair of a variety of committees. She now co-chairs the Artist Booths and has been the Fireworks chair since 2007.

She has also volunteered during the Garden and Quilt Tour, as well as for the Gene Nastri School of Arts and the Rosehill Community Center.

Wisbeck said she volunteers because it energizes her: She enjoys supporting her community, being around others, and giving to fill a need.

“I’m happiest being a behind-the-scenes worker bee,” she said. “I know I have the time and the ability, so it’s something that’s fun to do. I get as much from it as what I think I give.”

A former nurse, Wisbeck now manages several rental properties in Mukilteo and Seattle.

As Citizen of the Year, Wisbeck will get her name engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Mukilteo Library, as well as her own plaque, and will be in the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival parade on Saturday, Sept. 7.

She also will be honored in a ceremony with the Pioneer of the Year at the lighthouse at 3 p.m. that Saturday.

Wisbeck succeeds Steve and Darlene Conklé, who were the 2012 Citizens of the Year.

To nominate the 2014 Citizen of the Year, look in the Mukilteo Beacon for the form available in June.

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