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A Decade of Community Commitment
Debbie Knopf Retires
 


   

For the last decade, the Island Association has continued to grow and support the community organizations on Madeline Island.  There have been many board members who have volunteered their time and expertise over this period, but the time has come for a single, consistent thread of knowledge to move on to the next decade:  Debbie Knopf has retired as Island Association Secretary!  We are torn by the fear of the unknown, and yet are happy that she will be enjoying her new freedom in the future!

     To celebrate, we thought it would be fun to highlight some of her background and contributions to the Island since she and her family arrived:

     In 1999, Debbie, her husband, Todd, and their newly adopted 2 year old daughter, Kaytie, chose to move to Madeline to start their new life together.  As older parents of a young child, they felt a commitment to the community and were quickly whisked into the whirlwind of Island life.  Todd, owner of Wellspring Landscaping, was very busy getting his business established, but also found time to get elected as a Town Board Supervisor.  Debbie, along with caring for Kaytie and cleaning homes for Wellspring, was hired as the After-School Program Coordinator for the La Pointe School, as well as a waitress for the Bell Street Tavern in the evenings.  She knew she was 'in' when Birdie Pallas saw her walking to work at the Bell Street after returning from a meeting at the Bayfield School.  Birdie rolled down her window and called, “Now you're a REAL Island woman:  you've got 3 jobs!”

     In 2003, Todd passed away suddenly and Debbie was forced into the role of owner/manager in a time of deep grief..  She persevered and Wellspring has thrived and expanded under her direction.  Since then, Debbie has worked for Family Forum Head Start over five counties as an Education Consultant and as a Head Start teacher.  In addition to managing Wellspring, Debbie is presently Administration Program Manager for Head Start 10 months of the year, writing curriculum, evaluating and teaching other teachers, and spending a great deal of time on the mainland.  She also has served on the Bayfield School Board for the past six years, which is an unbelievable time and personal commitment.  St. John's Church Council serves as an additional volunteer activity.  Did you know she also has a teenager?

         When asked about accomplishments within the Island Association over the last decade, Debbie felt that the organization had added several strengths for creating community: Establishment of a Scholarship Fund for Island High School graduates, funding for local projects like EMT training and Kid's programs, and making the Island Association more visible with Gazette articles.  Debbie also helped bring the organization into the modern age by switching from hand-written ledgers to Excel spreadsheets.  Membership Promoting strategies have been implemented to explain what the organization does and how people can get involved.  The Island Association also has a roll to play in bringing Island and Summer residents together to enhance the community for everyone.

     What will Debbie be doing now that she has 'retired' from Island Association Secretary?  Coincidently, two of her older children have each managed to bring her a new grandbaby to spoil.  Giana is just over 1 month old and Kaison is 2 weeks old.  Now she has more time to Skype and drive south when she needs a 'grama fix'!  We wish her well and hope she can 'retire' in some other areas of her life so she has more time to enjoy everything.  Good luck and thanks for all your hard work! 

Island Association Board Members

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