I am especially proud to bring you a story about a beautiful lady that makes me smile and who has made others happy for many, many years. Deborah Stokes, known as “Debby” to her friends, is a person with as happy a disposition as I have ever known! A wonderful nurse, a loving mother, and a nurturing “grandma”, Debby has never said no when folks seek her help and guidance. And, I have never known this person to ever have said a negative word about any individual. She has a very sunny outlook on life and remains positive no matter the situation or issue confronting her. I doubt anyone has seen her get angry at anything!
Debby, like many of my subjects, was not born here, but came to Southern Maryland in 1979. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island and raised in nearby Warwick. She completed her studies and training when she was 20, became an RN and married a young Navy Petty Officer from Silver Spring, Maryland. Together, they travelled the world as he was assigned to Warminster, Pennsylvania, the Portuguese Azores, DC, Hawaii, and finally Patuxent River. Along the way they raised three children, Cindy, Richard, and Stacy who now have provided her with nine awesome grandchildren! It doesn’t take long for a person upon first meeting her to see the pride and love she has for her family.
Debby gives much of herself to others. As a new Navy wife, she volunteered to work at the US Air Force Hospital at Lajes, Azores one day a week to allow the assigned military nurses a breather. She has assisted many Navy wives organizations at her husband’s duty stations and played a big role in assisting her husband in 1980 with an Azorean Relief Drive organized by him at Patuxent River following a terrible earthquake in this island chain on New Year’s Day 1980. Together, with the help of many churches, Volunteer Fire Departments, and local radio stations, they gathered so much food and clothing for these poor people, the Navy brought in a large transport aircraft to fly these donations to the Azores.
Throughout her husband’s career, she was immersed in his collateral volunteer work as a Boy Scoutmaster, Sunday School Teacher, Sunday School Director, Santa Claus, and appearances as “the Donut Man” clown. Later when her husband became the Senior Chief of his Command in Hawaii representing 1500 enlisted men of five Navy Squadrons, Debby became a “go to person” for Navy families that required assistance when husbands were deployed or needed help in learning where to turn when other problems arose.
Later, this woman became her husband’s right arm upon his retirement following his 22 year Naval career when his focus turned to taking care of the sick children treated at Children’s Hospital in Washington, DC and throughout Southern Maryland. For more than 25 years, she helped put on twenty Charity Golf Tournaments and a host of Benefits for needy families. She often accompanied her husband to hundreds of fundraisers, County Fairs, parades, and football festivities doing whatever was necessary to ensure the success of these charitable efforts. She quietly remained on the sidelines doing the things that often went unnoticed, but were crucial to the outcome of these big events. She was directly responsible in helping her husband and his team raise more than $750,000 in donations here in Calvert County between 1993 and 2013! These funds were provided to Calvert United Way, Calvert Department of Social Services, Project Echo, Wounded Warriors, several schools and local children programs in addition to Children’s Hospital.
Debby has one of the best smiles you will ever see, especially when all of her hard work is manifested in her husband’s public recognition when selected as the Knight’s of Columbus “Maryland Citizen of the Year Award” or when he was chosen as the Calvert County “Most Beautiful Person of the Year”! Her husband even light heartedly chastised the County Commissioners for having selected him when everyone who knows the two of them knows the real honor for the Most Beautiful recognition should have gone to her!!!!
One of the great traits of this lady is she never is the type to want or seek recognition for her actions. Her pride is in the achievements of her family and the great joy they bring her! I do know of a time when she was honored by the Solomons Volunteer Fire Department with the “First Responder of the Year” award given to her by State Comptroller Louis Goldstein for her actions at an accident scene. Many times during her career as an RN she has been called upon to provide aid in emergency situations. And I know many young nurses went to her for help during her 29 years at Calvert Memorial Hospital where she was well respected and admired by staff and patients alike.
By now I am sure many of you realize I have been speaking of my best friend and partner, my beautiful wife Deb who has been with me through thick and thin for most of my life! And I am very proud and happy to tell you that we just celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary this week on July 19th. I realize this story may appear to be little self-serving, but honestly, she is an absolutely beautiful person in her own right as pointed out to me by many neighbors who have been pushing me for several months now to write her story. I hope you know I realize I am the luckiest guy in the world for having met this girl fifty years ago when she was a mere 16 years old. And it is because of her that I became the man that I am as she has always been there for me…
The nice thing about having the privilege to write this column about the beautiful citizens of this County once a week is it allows me to tell you about this truly beautiful woman. Thank you Debby for everything you do not only for me, but for everyone we come in contact with!
I love you Ms. Spiggy! (:@))
Dave Spigler resides in Lusby and has been a resident of Calvert County since 1979. He has been recognized many times for his years of community service. He received the “Calvert You Are Beautiful Award” for 2013 and recognized by the Knights of Columbus as the “Maryland Citizen of the Year” in 2011. He was a member of the HOGETTES, the Washington Redskins “Biggest Fans” for 22 years. If you know of an unsung citizen of Calvert County, please contact Dave at firstname.lastname@example.org.