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Citizen of Year serves around the clock

 

Last updated 7/13/2016 at Noon

Deb Bordsen

As the daughter of two former Citizens of the Year, volunteerism is in Deb Bordsen’s blood.

Bordsen has been named Mukilteo’s 2016 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 also may be recognized.

“I was very, very surprised and shocked,” Bordsen said. “It touched my heart and made me feel very humble to be included in a group of some wonderful people who have received this honor.”

Bordsen, 55, was honored at the Mukilteo Kiwanis Club meeting on June 29 at Spiro's Pizza & Pasta.

Kiwanis received several letters nominating Bordsen for the award. The letters noted the many ways Bordsen has served Mukilteo on and off the clock, year after year.

A panel of judges – all former Citizens of the Year – voted to give the award to Bordsen.

“Debra comes from a family of volunteers; both her mother and father, Lois and Bruce Brown, have been Citizens of the Year,” wrote Beacon Publisher Paul Archipley in one of the letters. “They taught her well.”

(Lois Brown was named Citizen of the Year 1995; Bruce Brown in 2002.)

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

As a founding member, Bordsen helped establish the Mukilteo Community Garden in 2009 to provide fresh produce to local food banks. She served as the inaugural secretary of the nonprofit organization.

“It was for five years that I really helped to see that it was going to be a permanent thing,” she said. “I strongly believe that nobody, especially children, should go hungry in our community.”

She also served as secretary for the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce for several years.

Though she’s no longer an officer, she continues to help the chamber with many of its annual events, including the Mukilteo Car Show and the beer garden at the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival.

Over the years, Bordsen has also worked for a variety of nonprofit organizations that serve Mukilteo.

As a YMCA employee, Bordsen was a behind-the-scenes leader in the capital campaign to build a Y in Mukilteo. The 42,000-square-foot building opened in 2000.

Bordsen also worked for Catholic Community Services as a volunteer recruiter for its chore and transportation programs.

While working there, she started the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service through partnerships with United Way of Snohomish County, the YMCA of Snohomish County and RSVP of Snohomish County.

Now in its seventh year, the annual event turns the holiday into a day “on” instead of a day “off.”

“I recruited volunteers to go to low-income senior and disabled adults’ homes to help with everyday chores, such as laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, yard work, etc. I had so many people on our waitlist.

“That is where I came up with the idea for the MLK Day of Services projects.”

She now works for Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County, which helps victims of domestic abuse and their children.

As one of its deputy directors, she is in charge of fundraising and community outreach for the organization, as well as its thrift shop and teen dating violence/healthy relationships program.

“Suffice it to say, she is doing yeoman’s work to … affect the social change necessary to eliminate domestic violence,” Archipley wrote.

As Citizen of the Year, Bordsen received her own plaque, will get her name engraved on a plaque that hangs in the Rosehill Community Center, and will be honored in the Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival parade on Saturday, Sept. 10.

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

As a ruse, Bordsen was asked to speak to Kiwanis about Domestic Violence Services of Snohomish County. She had no clue she had won the award.

“It’s our obligation as citizens that we need to help out in any way we can,” Bordsen said of volunteering. “My parents instilled that in me that you need to give back to the community. Time, money – both, if you can.

“I volunteer because I would like to try and make a positive and lasting difference in our community.”

The Citizen of the Year is not a Kiwanis award, but is sponsored by the Mukilteo service club. Fifty-seven outstanding citizens have been recognized since the award was established in 1970.

Deb Bordsen follows Stan Lundgaard, who was the 2015 Citizen of the Year.

 

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