2018-11-07 / Front Page

Debbie David Accepts Citizen Of The Year Award For Others


Debbie David holds the clock she received at the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet for being named 2018 Archbold Lions Club Citizen of the Year.– photo by Mary Huber Debbie David holds the clock she received at the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet for being named 2018 Archbold Lions Club Citizen of the Year.– photo by Mary Huber Debbie Sauder David said when she was first told she was the 2018 Archbold Lions Club Citizen of the Year, she was a little nervous.

Speaking to the audience at the Archbold Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet, Thursday, Nov. 1, she said she decided she would accept “for all of us that serve together that make this community better, that reach out to others and help them enjoy their stay in our town of Archbold.”

She joins the ranks of 51 men and women who have held the honor, including her grandfather, Erie J. Sauder, founder of both Sauder Woodworking and Sauder Village who was the 1969 Citizen of the Year, and her father, Maynard Sauder.

It was 30 years ago, she said, when she, her husband, David, and their daughter Jessica, then 2, returned to Archbold from their home in California to see her father honored with the 1987 Citizen of the Year title.

It was the first time the event was held at Founder’s Hall.

“Wow. What 30 years will do,” she said.

In a video shown at the event, Andy Brodbeck, Sauder Village Director of Development, said 18 years ago, Maynard’s wife, Carolyn, then-director of the Village, “confidently gave up her leadership when Debbie came, because she came with the same determinations as Erie.”

Debbie David, who is now president and chief executive officer of Sauder Village, said she had traveled a lot of places, “but it’s really special to be here at home, carrying on the traditions that were started by my grandfather.”

In her speech, she recognized her parents, “who taught me how to serve, how to lead with compassion and positivity, seeing the good in all people.”

She said they had set examples of hospitality and generosity for her.

She also recognized those at Sauder Village, from the board of directors to the employees.

“It’s a great team to work with. It’s a lot of fun. We have a great time, and we do a wonderful service.”

The Citizen of the Year award is “truly a validation of the importance of Sauder Village here in Archbold and beyond.”

She recognized the former Citizens of the Year, many of whom were in the audience.

“You have made the community a better place,” she told them.

Leadership Style

In talking about Debbie David’s leadership of Sauder Village, Jeanette Smith, director of sales and marketing for the Village, said in the video, “History and hospitality are the mission of Sauder Village, and she had a real vision to grow Sauder Village into the destination that it is today.”

“It was important to me to find a team that works out of their strengths, so that each person can feel like they’re contributing to something bigger than themselves,” Debbie David said in the video.

“We don’t have to know all the answers. We just have to know the people that know the answers.”

Her husband described her leadership style in the video, saying, “She’s like a conductor– not in the sense of being a conductor on a train or something. I might call it an arranger, and an arranger’s response is, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s exactly what I was thinking.’”

Brodbeck said, “The culture in Archbold is one of hard work, and caring about other people, making sure you put others first.

“That’s the culture that’s here at Sauder Village.”

Smith described the culture as “wanting to do what’s best for our guests.”

Also Honored

Debbie David wasn’t the only one honored.

Her father and her uncle, Myrl Sauder, were honored with the AACC Legacy award.

Roel Galvan, a long-term Sauder Woodworking employee and AACC board member, said Maynard and Myrl had worked together their entire careers; Maynard as chief executive officer, Myrl as vice president of engineering.

He said the two had “worked together their whole lives, and never had one argument. True story.”

The two helped build Sauder Woodworking from $12 million in sales in 1975 to more than $500 million 25 years later.

“They have served the community and the world with humility and generosity. It is truly a joy to see the love they have for each other,” Galvan said.

“They have a legacy, and an example for all of us to follow.”

Erie’s Words

To close the evening, Debbie David shared words from her grandfather.

“When he (Erie) was 90 years old, he was reflecting on important values that have guided him and the Sauder company.

“He said, ‘You know, we’re working for who? Just for Erie Sauder? Absolutely not.

“It’s got to be for the community and the employees. They’re number one, and our values have to be in that fashion. Not myself, but ourselves.

“’And I’m so glad my boys have taken that same theme.’

“Tonight, we celebrate a lifetime of service given by two of those boys– my dad and my Uncle Myrl. What a team they make.

“I’m grateful for the example and their legacy, and I hope to carry that forward.”

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