Church, family, helping others are Helen’s passionate pillars

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Georgetown resident Helen Kruger at her home away from home: church.

GEORGETOWN — Family reunions don’t require much travel time for Helen Kruger.

Her children and grandchildren live a stone’s throw away.

“We all reside on Kruger Road and they are next door or down the road,” said Ms. Kruger. “I love that. I always think how lucky I am when it’s Mother Day or Easter; I don’t have to travel to see my children.”

At 72, retirement has not arrived for the lifelong Georgetown resident.

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Helen Kruger

Mr. Kruger remains active or semi-active in numerous civic community organizations.

Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce luncheon one day. Georgetown-Millsboro Rotary the next, if not Georgetown Little League, Little League World Series, Georgetown Non Profit Alliance or Delaware Mother of the Year meetings.

And always church on Sunday. She holds a remarkable claim to fame as a member of Wesley United Methodist Church.

“I have perfect attendance for 64 years. I have been a Sunday School teacher for 51 years,” said Ms. Kruger. “I did play the piano but I don’t play in public. I get very nervous, which is surprising to everybody.”

Ms. Kruger is a life member of the Georgetown Historical Society. Past passions include American Cancer Society, Sussex Community Housing Services, American Heart Association, Sussex Central Boosters, and Pop Warner Football.

“And I’m still on the board at Georgetown Little League and had been treasurer in the past. I keep saying it is time to move on. I’ve been there since Paul Jr. was 8 years old,” Ms. Kruger said.

Last week she was in Dover to celebrate the 2016 Delaware Mother of the Year honorees.

That distinguished honor was bestowed upon her in 2014. She was recognized for her volunteerism, commitment to community, deep faith and dedication to family.

Ms. Kruger admits she is a workaholic. In addition to her volunteerism she worked in banking fulltime for nearly four decades and after that took a part-time receptionist job at Delaware Technical Community College.

She says Georgetown chamber colleague Lit Dryden calls her “Hell on Wheels.”

Without further ado, meet Helen Kruger.

How about your education background?

“I went to the Georgetown High School. I graduated in 1961.”

You could have gone to college but chose to bank on immediate employment?

“I chose not to go. I had a job with Farmers Bank. And I ended up working for the bank for 37 years.”

How about your family?

“I am married to Paul Kruger Sr. We will have been married 52 years this October. We have three children, two daughters and a son. Kelly has been employed with Sussex County for 31 years, presently at EOC. Katrina is manager of Registry and Chancery for the state and Paul Jr. works with his father in the family business, Kruger Trailers. His wife Jennifer is a kindergarten teacher with the Indian River School District. We have four grandchildren: Delaney will be 19 this month, she is Katrina’s. Paul and Jen have three children, Kylie who is 13, Kade, 10 and Karly 6.”

How about your commitment to the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce?

“I started when I was at Farmers Bank. I have been on the board probably for over 50 years. I left the bank in 1997. I still have a room at home and it’s called the Chamber Office.”

One of your chamber missions is membership?

“I went from 80 members to 200 members in less than two months. It is knowing people and I am a firm believer if you have a business you need to be a chamber member. You need that sign when a person walks in that place of business. I look for that. I am still on the membership committee. We now have over 400 members. My goal was 500; I never hit it because the economy went down. We’re averaging 440 to 450 members.”

Every two years, the Georgetown chamber and Georgetown Little League have a major phone book fundraiser. You team up with chamber colleague Joan Tyndall on that?

“Joan does all of the bookkeeping and all of the billing and I do all of the selling. The last time I sold $50,000. The Little League got $15,000 and the chamber got $15,000. It cost $20,000 to print it.”

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Delaware Mother of the Year 2014 Helen Kruger on parade.

How about your involvement with Georgetown-Millsboro Rotary?

“I am assistant secretary and assistant treasurer. I try to participate in every project they have. I feel that is part of my job. We do community service. We’re getting ready for Flags for Heroes. We had 500 flags last year. It is a big project.”

You are now treasurer for Mother of the Year Delaware?

“I took over last year. This is my second year.”

What do you treasure most about having been named 2014 Mother of the Year?

“It is a great honor to be recognized. It’s a good feeling when someone says, ‘Oh, that’s the Mother of the Year.’ I felt there were others equally deserving as I was. And there are only three from Georgetown, myself, Rosalie Walls (2012) and Mabel Lambden (1978).”

There are family ties in your committee pitch to support the Little League World Series staged in nearby Roxana?

“My brother Martin Donovan is the head of it. I enjoy it. I’m usually upstairs in the hospitality room where it is air conditioned. It is a lot of work and nobody knows that. I think Martin is crazy. But he loves it, and he is now retired.”

What makes you tick like a Timex?

“Helping others I think is a full circle. When you give in your volunteering it benefits the person that you are helping. And they grow as an individual. And you feel good about yourself. It’s a win-win for both people.”

“I love helping people. If someone calls me and if I don’t have the answer I will get the answer and call them back. I couldn’t sleep if I didn’t”

What do you consider your greatest achievements?

“Helping others. And church, I feel Sunday is not Sunday if I don’t go.”

Is there a Helen Kruger Fun Fact?

“I was born in my mother’s house, right where she lives today, in the dining room – home delivery. You tell your grandchild, ‘I was born right here.’ and they say, ‘You were?”

“Another thing we did; as a family is we always took our kids on a vacation every year. My husband has been in every state; all 50. I hit most of them. And we’ve been to all NASCAR tracks, even California.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at grolfe@newszap.com

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