Honoring a devoted volunteer

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Debbie and her husband, Michael, who is retired from Con Edison, have been married 39 years. Debbie, a 39-year resident, has always devoted herself to the community. Before joining Kiwanis, she said, when her four sons were young, she was involved in the East Meadow PTA and served as PTA Council president. In 2002 she was elected to the East Meadow Board of Education, where she served for six years.

She was elected to the Nassau BOCES board in 2008, and is still a member. She is president of Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today, and was elected to the Nassau-Suffolk School Boards Association’s Executive Committee in June 2009. She is also a member of the Nassau County Jail Advisory Committee, and works three days a week at a podiatrist’s office in Westbury.

“I think her years of volunteering, when you add [it] up, is more than I have been alive,” joked O’Flaherty.

Coates recalled joining East Meadow Kiwanis seven years ago, when she saw how committed its members were to the community. “I found it to be an organization I enjoyed being part of,” she said. “Kiwanis was the perfect avenue to give back.”

She received a congratulatory plaque and pin at the Sept. 19 meeting, and her name will be added to the organization’s permanent Kiwanian of the Year plaque. That evening she also received the Anton “Tony” Kaiser Award, presented by the New York District Kiwanis Foundation, in recognition of her service to the organization.

“She simply stepped up well beyond anyone in the past few years,” Allen said.

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