Woman's club names 2022 citizen of year


March 16, 2023

Diana Zimmerman

Grays River resident Diane Hollenbeck was named the Woman's Club Citizen of the Year.

By Diana Zimmerman

Grays River resident Diane Hollenbeck is Cathlamet Woman's Club 2022 Citizen of the Year.

"The Cathlamet Woman's Club is honored every year in recognizing a person or couple who exemplifies the volunteer spirit," President Caroline Walton said. "I met Diane for the first time at the Club's Christmas Party. She is a genuinely caring person that recognizes a need and tries her best to help others, whether it be for an individual or the community. What touched me most about her, was her kindness and her love for others."

Twenty Twenty Two was a good year for Hollenbeck. Along with being named Citizen of the Year, she was named Caregiver of the Year by the Area Agency on Aging and Disabilities of Southwest Washington, and her apple pie was selected as a winner in last year's pie baking contest.

She's very busy. She's a member of the Grays River Grange, she's trying to get a blood drive reinstated in the area, she's secretary/treasurer for the West End Food Pantry, and volunteers there every Thursday. She's a member of the Rosburg Community Club which manages Rosburg Hall and on a team of three or four, depending on the week, who cooks dinner for the senior lunch there.

The meal has become popular and organizers are seeing upwards of 50 people at the event.

"A lot of people donate food to us," Hollenbeck said. "It's been good. It's a big meal."

Earlier this month, they had fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, a vegetable, salads and rolls.

She wasn't trained in food services, but it's a good thing she enjoys cooking, because she also helps to prepare dinners once a month for the American Legion Auxiliary.

"When I first came up here I didn't know anybody," Hollenbeck said. "That's how I decided I would meet people. I saw it in the paper, both the CAP lunch and the Grays River Senior Lunch. I thought I'll just go to that and meet some people."

She's also quick to volunteer to drive any friends to the store, the doctor, the pharmacy. Whatever they need.

Hollenbeck's father was in the Army. Both parents served in World War II and when Hollenbeck was young, the family moved every two years. She lived in Ohio, Arkansas, Puerto Rico, and South Carolina.

In 1975, she made her first move on her own, to Denver and attended Metropolitan State University. She eventually found work there as an administrator in the school's Department of Earth and Atmospheric Science.

To this day she enjoys learning and is always taking classes.

She has four Alpaca, and has gone from knowing how to knit, to learning how to spin and weave.

Preparing the fiber is a lot of work, and after learning all the ins and outs, she decided she would be better off sending her fiber to a mill and having it processed.

While still in Denver, she and friends would go to a market and sell their wares. She would sit and spin, and guys would always approach, fascinated with the mechanics of the wheel.

These days, she's on the local Farm 2 Fiber committee helping to organize their annual event at the Skamokawa Fairgrounds.

For fun, Hollenbeck enjoys being at home working with her animals, and doing things around her property.

If she's in the mood to move, she likes to go to a new place, eat at a new restaurant, or just turn down a road she's never traveled.

No one is more surprised by all the attention than Hollenbeck. All the things she's done to be recognized, she did quietly, just to get to know people and be involved in her community.

"I enjoy what I do," Hollenbeck said of all her volunteer activities. "I never did any of it expecting any attention for it. It was just, I can do that."


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