Kiwanian Bill Rowen presents Geraldine Williams with a Kiwanis Citizen of the Year plaque as her husband, Harris, left, stands alongside her.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Kiwanian Bill Rowen presents Geraldine Williams with a Kiwanis Citizen of the Year plaque as her husband, Harris, left, stands alongside her. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Geraldine Williams, 2013 Kiwanis Citizen of the Year: Brought to you last Sunday by the letters K, D and H.

"There are a number of words to describe Geraldine, and a number of those words begin with 'D', so I'm going to share with you 'De Top Ten Dennis Words to Describe Geraldine'," said the Rev. Dennis Timmerman, addressing an audience gathered Sunday at the Spring Valley Community Center to recognize the contributions Williams has made to her community and honor her along with the Spring Valley Kiwanis Club.

Timmerman spoke about Williams because she served as Our Savior's Lutheran Church's bookkeeper and secretary for several years, keeping church business on track. "I'll begin with 'devout' - which also means 'faithful' and 'sincere.' She's also 'devoted' to her family and her church, 'detailed' - or 'meticulous' and 'thorough' - having saved me a lot of times when I thought something was, and she told me it wasn't. Geraldine is also direct - I always appreciated that you know where you stand with her. She also supported me in my ministry at Our Savior's, and I appreciate the conversations we had about things. She's 'dedicated' to getting things done, doing the ministry of the church and getting it done with diligence, 'dynamic' in getting things done, once again, 'diligent', and 'dependable' - she's made a real difference in the lives of the people of the church and community.

"The last two are verbs - Geraldine, we've seen you as an action person who gives away your time and energy to those who need it, so you 'donate' - and you also 'do,' so it's very clear why you've been chosen as Citizen of the Year."

Williams's daughter, Becky Harrington, shared the "H" of the day, relating how the 4-H veteran has given leadership through the "Hs" of 4-H. "We thank you for honoring our family this way," she said, addressing the audience, "and we think you made a good choice.

"Our family has been in 4-H for years, and our mom has been a big part of that. I'll use the principles of 4-H to describe her. The first one is 'head', and quite a few years ago, she and another volunteer stepped up and revamped the 4-H food stand at the fair, but she didn't do it without first doing some research - we ate at 4-H food stands at other fairs, and she took notes on how they did their food lines, what they served, how they arranged things. And she always left with records that are above reproach."

Harrington continued, "The second is 'heart.' Research shows that for positive development, kids need a long-term relationship with a non-parent adult, and she served as a volunteer and really built relationships with kids, and now that her kids are gone, she does it with the grandkids, and also with their friends when she comes to visit our county fairs. The third is 'hands'- she's a doer. As a club leader of the Bloomfield Cloverleaves, she always was about having young people engaged in experiences, and when I look back, that's something I think we took for granted. The fourth is 'health,' and the contributions Mom made continue to make this a better world. She just steps in and does things not because they were requested, but because she sees a need. Thank you, Mom, for being a model for our family and community. You're living out the 4-H pledge."

After Geraldine and the fifth "H" - her husband Harris, who has faithfully supported her in her endeavors - stood and accepted the plaque presented to her, she stated, "This is certainly a humbling experience. It's overwhelming to see how many of you came, and some of you from a distance. I was sitting here thinking, 'Was that really me you were talking about?'"

She related that when she was asked to be the Kiwanis Citizen of the Year, she had to give it some thought, but determined that the honor was a good one because the gifts given in recognition of her accomplishments will benefit the Kiwanis high school scholarship fund.

"I'm trying to deal with the recognition, because it's a lot easier to accept acknowledgement than it is to accept recognition," she said. "All the things I've done and been involved with, I didn't do them alone. One group in particular, the Rebekah Circle, is a busy group, and we work well together, and my grandkids come along when we serve Meals on Wheels, and I have help when I'm serving at the Spring Valley Historical Society's ice cream social, when I'm at Good Earth Village and other places...I'm usually recruiting people to help out. Recently, I got to help with the Brush with Kindness program, and it was nice to just be able to show up and help out...through the years, I've received much more than I've given and met many people. I've been blessed with the opportunity to work with and serve many people."