Ambitious resident humbled by honor

DeYoung's award sits with her official nomination, signed by Eagles Auxiliary committee members.

DeYoung’s award sits with her official nomination, signed by Eagles Auxiliary committee members.

Shirley DeYoung of Austin diligently took notes last week while her fellow Eagles Ladies Lookout Auxiliary members held their monthly meeting.

Little did she know, however, the focus of the meeting was about to shift in her direction. While DeYoung focused on her pen and paper, committee members announced DeYoung as the Auxiliary 703 Sister Eagle of the Year. The committee presented DeYoung with an engraved plaque and nearly a dozen letters of recommendation written by auxiliary members.

“It was a complete shock,” DeYoung said. “I had no idea.”

Yet those who know DeYoung know about her commitments. If she starts something, she’s going to see it through. The former 13-year director of the Mower County Historical Society was approached by women to join the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary.

“I thought, ‘Well, that sounds like a good idea,’” she said.

That was 23 years ago.

But the longtime auxiliary member may have had a hunch something was going on when someone mentioned a 59-year Eastern Star member. DeYoung fits that bill, as well. Along with those commitments, DeYoung has been married for 57 years, was a 50-year member of Fellowship United Methodist Church and is a lifetime member of the VFW. Eagles Auxiliary members recently asked DeYoung to take over as secretary. She has a tough time saying “no.”

Shirley DeYoung of Austin stands with her Auxiliary 703 Sister of the Year award, which she received last week for her dedication.

Shirley DeYoung of Austin stands with her Auxiliary 703 Sister of the Year award, which she received last week for her dedication.

“She stepped in and took over as secretary just like that,” said Carol Conner, auxiliary president.

DeYoung said after she retired, she wasn’t going to sit at home and do nothing. And the chance to serve a charitable organization also appealed to her.

“They’re a good organization,” DeYoung said, who added the Eagles Club has already donated to 11 charities this year.

DeYoung will join other District 5 Sisters of the Year in Winona this weekend and find out if she will become Sister of the District. From there, the Eagles also nominate Sister of the State and Sister of the Nation.

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