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Independent Voice

Dingman is Dixon’s Citizen of the Year

Mar 13, 2024 09:53AM ● By MPG Staff

David and Debra Dingman. Photo by Nicolas Brown

DIXON, CA (MPG) - At last Saturday’s Chamber of Commerce extravaganza to celebrate Dixon, Debra Dingman, long-time resident and editor of The Independent Voice newspaper, was awarded Dixon’s highest honor: the Citizen of the Year.

The nomination read: “Debra has been a Dixon resident since 1992 and has been involved in all aspects of the Dixon Community.

“She moved here after landing a job at First Northern Bank as a publications assistant before she was hired away by the owner of the Dixon Tribune as editor. Debra had a degree in journalism from Sacramento State University; being the editor of a local newspaper was her dream job.

“She quickly became involved in Dixon and taught Sunday School for a total of 20 years during which time she organized a huge and successful vacation bible school with 250 children, and soon was hired as the children’s ministry director. After four years as the director and more successful VBS’s, she returned to volunteering — helping out at church workdays, fundraisers, and numerous other activities so she could take care of her ailing mom.

Debra has helped raise funds for a wide variety of school efforts and served in numerous capacities — board of Cooperative Nursery Schools, PTA president, den leader in Scouts, Little League baseball, CA Jacobs and Dixon High School track teams as well as the AFS program. She and her family hosted a foreign exchange student from Japan for a year and continued to host students for a decade.

Debra Dingman Citizen of the Year

 Debra Dingman, for once, speechless. Photo by Jeff Myers

“She was instrumental in chartering a new civic club in Dixon - Dixon Kiwanis in 2009 and served as secretary, treasurer, and president for four terms each during which time the club twice received the ‘Distinguished Club’ award in the Kiwanis Sacramento Region. Kiwanis has contributed greatly to the community financially and through service. Debra started Dixon’s annual Kiwanis ‘Festival of Trees’ fundraiser after seeing the success of Vacaville’s Festival of Trees, and also started ‘Breakfast with the Bunny.’ Through these and other fundraisers, the club raised nearly $100,000 since being founded. 

“Funds have been used to support numerous local organizations, provide animal aid during the fires, and give numerous scholarships for Dixon grads. This past December, Debra knew the John Knight Middle School needed funds to repair and purchase band instruments for students and organized a fundraising tree auction that brought in over $1,600 to that department.

“She provided free publicity writing and social media posting for 30 years for various local non-profits and many other organizations that needed help in getting the word out about their services.

 “She is the ‘Erma Bombeck’ of Dixon with her newspaper columns that are informative and funny but can also bring the community’s attention to more serious concerns.

“Dixon is Debra’s home and she is the first to roll up her sleeves to help others and continually looks for ways to serve. Whether it be putting away tables and chairs after events, helping mop up the Vet’s Hall after a leaky roof, or helping clean up a local veteran’s home and yard, she is always there to lend a hand. 

“Debra loves children and was a volunteer church camp counselor for numerous years, den leader for Cub Scouts and Webelos for several years. She taught workshops for children to be safe and smart about doing youth businesses, always giving credit to the Dixon Downtown Business Association (DDBA) or Chamber. Years ago, she volunteered many hours on the Chamber of Commerce Business Education Committee while helping start the Junior Chamber Ambassadors which lasted about six years and coordinated the ‘Five Buck Stews’ that created the Chamber’s first scholarship fund.

“Debra has tenacity and strives for excellence in all she does and goes the extra mile. When she was told managing the Farmer’s Market “wasn’t in her job description” while working for the DDBA, she volunteered the entire summer each week managing the event and helping everywhere — even face painting when Girls Scouts needed a break, and helping supervise children at movie and music nights.  She has chaired DDBA’s Wine Stroll and merchant meetings, served as a museum docent and retail guide, and helped organize Dixon’s first Grillin’ and Chillin.’

“Lastly, Debra served on the Dixon Transportation Advisory Commission and has served on various other committees to improve Dixon. She steps up where needed and is currently serving as the president of the Women’s Improvement Club.”