Anyone visiting Supervisor Dana Kauffman's (D-Lee) office at the Franconia Government Center will immediately notice two things: the large number of collectibles — shot glasses, castles and Marilyn Monroe memorabilia — decorating the office and receptionist Debbie Wilson's smile.
On Jan. 21, Wilson will be celebrating her 26th year working at the Lee District Supervisor's office. The job is a bit of a legacy — she inherited it from her mother Helen Wilson, who had worked there for 18 years under former Lee District Supervisor Joe Alexander. Debbie Wilson is quick to point out that for 12 of those years, she helped her mother out part-time after school.
For the longevity of service to the Lee community and the enthusiasm in which she does her job, Debbie Wilson is this week's People Profile.
Number of years in the community: 52.5 years. My parents moved here when I was a year-and-a-half old, so I was raised here in Franconia. Even though I now live in Centreville — after my parents passed, my fiancé's mother became the family hub, so we moved to be close to her — I still work, shop and do business here as this will always be my "home."
Family: Ricky Hastings, fiancé; Helen Wilson, mother, deceased, — the Community Room in the Franconia Governmental Center is named after her; Jim Wilson, father deceased; Rosie Uffinger-Barrow, biological mother; Elmer Byers, biological father, deceased); and Susan Kaufmann Siegel, daughter.
Education: Even though family and work got in the way, I completed some course work in college, but what is considered my most valuable education is my life experiences, which have helped me develop invaluable skills.
Current job/primary occupation? Lee District Supervisor's Office.
Achievements: Most important one to me is 26 years of dedication to Lee District community service.
Activities/interests/hobbies? Music, family, NHRA Drag Racing, Redskins, shopping with my best friends Susan or cousin Jane. Hobbies: I have way too many collections — medieval castles, wizards, dragons, etc.; Hard Rock Cafe and regular shot glasses; Marilyn Monroe and James Dean things, Mardi Gras masks and it goes on.
Favorite local restaurant or place in the community? Springfield Pizza or Mike's American Grill.
What are your community concerns? What are some ideas you have on ways to improve your community? Traffic and population growth in the area. More people need to use mass transit. I am a believer in Metro and use it whenever I can.
What brought you here? My parents. They worked at the Torpedo Factory during the war and rented briefly by where Huntington Metro Station is now. Then, they had a trailer at Fairfax Circle and saved to buy land in Windsor Estates where my father built the home I was raised in by himself.
What community "hidden treasure" do you think more people should know about? The Franconia Museum: it is a private, non profit local history museum dedicated to preserving the past, present and future of the Franconia area in pictures, artifacts and stories.
When you were younger, what did you want to be when you "grew up?" An artist.
Where do you see yourself in five years? Make it six and I hope to be retired and working part time in some kind of a beach shop, when I am not rocking on the porch looking at the waves and listening to the sea gulls.
Personal goals? It has always been to do my best at being an honest and caring person.