During last night’s Henderson City Council meeting, Debbie Gardner received the 2020 Heart of the City Award in recognition of her exceptional acts of kindness through volunteerism and donations that have enriched the lives of the Henderson community for many years.
Debbie has volunteered as a shopper for the City of Henderson’s Heritage Park Senior Facility Mini Mart, a small store filled with shelf-stable food items located in the building. She frequents nine stores and uses her extreme-couponing skills to save Henderson seniors money by purchasing items for the Mini Mart at the lowest prices she can find. Up to 175 seniors pre-COVID shopped at the senior facility every Friday.
Debbie is a long-time supporter of the Meals on Wheels pet program and regularly donates bags of dry food and canned food for the pets of senior adults benefiting from the Meals on Wheels service.
Working with Staples, Debbie has been able to purchase clearance items that she donates to John A. Dooley Elementary School. “We have a very diverse population with many families in need of help with school supplies for their children,” said Dooley’s Office Manager Tammy Stoker. “We have been able to assist many of our families with the school supplies that Mrs. Gardner has donated (including as backpacks, glue sticks, pencils, pens, notebooks, binders, paper, water bottles, and folders) over the past 5 years. She has also donated teacher appreciation gifts and coffee for the teachers’ lounge. She is such a generous and loving person and is always thinking of others and their struggles and how she can help make their lives easier.”
When she learned about Basic Academy of International Studies students whose families were in need of food, clothing and school supplies, Debbie convinced Staples to donate directly to the school. In addition, she has provided new shoes, blankets, clothing, and other items the students can use.
Debbie has provided the Heritage Park Senior Facility with items, including office stationery sets, painting and colored pencils with painting books, and journals, that have been included in raffle prize baskets given away at the City’s 2019 Volunteer Banquet (50 baskets), 2019 Veteran’s Resource Fair (20) and 2018 Tea Party (20). She also purchased some of the baskets. Debbie has also donated Golden Knights gear, T-shirts and many other giveaways.
Last year, Debbie brought a turkey, canned goods and a box of side dishes to the senior facility to give to a family in need. She has continued to support this family, providing them with groceries, food gift cards and cleaning supplies.
“Her heart is so big, never asking for anything in return, just happy to help,” said Vicki Hanson, Senior Services coordinator for Heritage Park Senior Facility. “The countless people who have benefited from Debbie’s helping hand is immeasurable. I want her to know that she is so appreciated for the wonderful, giving person she is and has been for as long as I have known her. I am thankful for her kindness. She has given selflessly so others can receive, which Is the best kind of heart.”
The City’s Parks and Recreation Department accepted this year’s award nominations until
Oct. 1, 2020. The Be Kind committee selected Debbie Gardner as the 2020 Heart of the City award recipient from the nominations received.
The City launched the Be Kind Initiative in 2014 to bring a message of kindness citywide. As part of this initiative, the City of Henderson each year presents the Heart of the City Award to a Henderson resident or City employee who has demonstrated distinctive acts of kindness to another individual. These acts of kindness may be described as one or more of the following: enrichment opportunities, character building, and/or mentoring; recognition of others; improvement of academic performance; possessing exceptional qualities that set this person apart; an action or behavior that raised the morale of others; or sincere cooperation, positive attitude and exceptional willingness to assist others.
For additional information about the Heart of the City Award or the city’s Be Kind initiative, call 702-267-4127 or 702-267-4103, or visit cityofhenderson.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.