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Marion Woman of the Year; unselfishness is hallmark of Deb Bush

MARION — Deborah Bush moved to Marion from Boston in 1994 to care for her ailing father, but that’s just one of the unselfish acts that characterizes her life.

Bush is The Standard-Times 2017 Marion Woman of the Year as a result of over 20 years of volunteer work for the town that has included serving as executive director of the League of Women Voters for Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester and organizer of the annual Marion Candidates Night. She is also a leading member and program director for the Sippican Women’s Club, an administrative assistant for the Marion Council on Aging, and a board member on the Marion Cultural Council.

The many admirers who nominated her for Woman of the Year had a lot to say about her beyond those titles.

“It is her unusually high level of kindness and willingness to help others that earns her highest praise,” said her friend, Joanne G. Mahoney. “She is the ‘go to’ person that friends and organizations turn to when they are in need and, somehow, Debbie always manages to adjust her own schedule to answer their calls for help. She is the ‘worker bee’ whose generosity and commitment to service often provides the ‘queen bees’ of Marion with the manpower necessary to achieve success.”

Former Marion Woman of the Year Priscilla Ditchfield added, “The Sippican Woman’s Club organizes the annual Holiday House Tour to fund scholarships for postsecondary education. Debbie serves as the person in charge of monthly programs — speakers, trips, and activities. She does it superbly, coming up with entertaining and informative programs year after year — all done with a very modest budget.

“She knows how to promote these activities and always does a great job of introducing the topic with warmth and enthusiasm. Not to mention covering for those situations when the whole thing unravels at the last moment and she needs to come up with an alternative!”

“I’m an only child but a social person,” Bush said. “I always keep busy. I enjoy people. I like to be out and do something that’s worthwhile for my community.”

Born and raised in White Plains, New York, Bush graduated from Katherine Gibbs School in Boston and has worked in administrative positions in Boston and beyond. When she slowed down to become a homemaker wife in Weston, Ma, she recalled, she painted doors over and over out of boredom and told her now former husband, “I can’t be here all day!”

It sparked her to volunteer for a children’s program in Weston that raised funds for used clothing. She hasn’t stopped since.

Her volunteer efforts in Marion started in 1995 for the Marion Council on Aging under a ‘Senior Work-off Program’ that allows seniors to lower their tax bills through volunteer work for the town. She was appointed to organize work assignments and then as van driver for medical appointments to New Bedford. She’s still an active volunteer there.

Her other early volunteering, she said, included lending a hand at the Sippican Memorial School library and initiating the “Gardens By The Sea” fundraiser that has run for years since then to support the gardens at St. Gabriel’s Episcopal Church.

Her work with the Women’s Club started when she heard the club was looking for new members. “Oh, you can help with our monthly program’,” she recalled being told. “I’ve been program coordinator ever since.”

She’s booked five programs a year for the club, seeking speakers on subjects ranging from local history to senior health after collecting ideas from club members and her own newspaper research. She also organizes the club’s field trips, including the transportation and meal stops options for each trip. The multi-paged program books the club have produced for the past 20 years are ample evidence of her hard work for the club.

In between all of the above, she’s offered elderly care on her own, not under any formal program, but just because that’s what she feels she need to do for others.

Right now, Deborah Bush is perplexed that since recently having her own health issues, “people have come out of the woodwork to help,” she said. “I’ve always been very independent. It’s hard for me to ask for help. It’s surprising.”

No, she shouldn’t be surprised Marion is returning the favor.

Article source: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/news/20180101/marion-woman-of-year-unselfishness-is-hallmark-of-deb-bush

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