Debaun, Garrity named ‘Women of Distinction’


In recognizing the altruistic and professional strides that women have contributed to local communities, Assemblyman Brian Curran officially joined fellow elected officials county supervisor Kate Murray and Councilman Anthony Santino, in honoring 14 female volunteers from across Nassau County for their dedication to service at his third annual Women of Distinction ceremony at Lynbrook Library on Sept. 7.

“I am proud to be able to honor these extraordinary women, whose achievements and dedication have improved the quality of life in our community,” Assemblyman Curran said. “We are very lucky to have these women as our friends and neighbors.”

Among the two-dozen honorees at this year’s ceremony were Sheila Norris and Marie-Antoinette Vitelli of Malverne; Lakeview Fire Chief Heather Senti of West Hempstead; Barbara Barnhart and Jane Grogan of Lynbrook; Collette Carrion and Claudia Rotondo of Baldwin; Edyth DeBaun and Suzanne Sullivan of Rockville Centre; Kimberly Garrity of Oceanside; Sister Ruthanne Gypalo of East Rockaway; Kim McNally of South Hempstead; Carmen Pineyro of Freeport and Krista Testani of Franklin Square. These women were all escorted by members of several local Girl Scout troops to receive their certificates of recognition.

Edyth Debaun

In 1949, Edyth Debaun, in partnership with her husband Joseph, commenced a legacy providing generations of children with memories of “Camp DeBaun”. Edyth also pursued her passion for serving her community of Oceanside by co-founding Kiwanettes with her husband in 1955.

At that time, Kiwanis would not accept female members, so Edyth and Joe established an organization for women who desired to serve in a parallel capacity to their husbands. To this day, Edyth remains an active member, having served in numerous positions in the organization, concentrating primarily on scholarships for high school seniors and local fundraising. This initial involvement thrust Edyth forward, allowing her to expand her community service to a wide range of organizations, including Oceanside Community Service, Oceanside District Scholarship Committee, American Field Service and the American Red Cross. Edyth has also been active in organizations such as the Interfaith Nutritional Network, American Camping Association and the Long Island Day Camp Association, of which she was a founding member.

For all she has done for the surrounding communities, Edyth has been honored with the Kiwanis Heart of Gold, named Kiwanis “Mother of the Year”, recognized as a Hewlett-Woodmere Alumni Hall of Famer, named Oceanside Board of Trade Citizen of the Year, and received the Town of Hempstead Pathfinder Award as Outstanding Humanitarian.

Of all Edyth’s involvements, none are more important than her family of 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 24 great grandchildren.

Kimberly Garrity

A Wharton School graduate, Kimberly Garrity was well into her career when she began the next phase of her life as mother to two daughters, Paige and Courtney.

Today, Kim is a Nassau Police Communications Operator, known as a 911 dispatcher, and holds a second part-time job as a medical office manager.

Born and raised in Oceanside, Kim is an active force in her community, serving on the Oceanside School Board for 17 years in the capacities of president, vice president and board liaison to the Committee on Special Education, Buildings and Grounds, Public Relations and Department of Community Activities.

Since taking office as a board of education trustee, Kim has helped implement many of the pledges she made during her campaign for office, including full-day kindergarten, a Foreign Language in Elementary School (FLES) program, a science research program, and developing 5- and 10-year financial and physical plant planning practices.

Kim was also an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Oceanside for more than 18 years and served on the board of directors as its public relations chairperson and newsletter editor.