DeEtta Bohling Lee grew up with a heart for service. In her years at Wartburg, she was part of three service trips and led students to help others through her work at the Volunteer Action Center. After graduating in 2009 with a degree in communication arts, you could say her big heart found the perfect fit as communications director for Kansas City’s American Heart Association, promoting the organization’s programs and events.

Lee’s passion to serve and her skill for communication are not confined to her professional life. An avid runner, she loves to spread the social bonding and health benefits of her favorite activity. When an injury meant she needed to run shorter distances, she started a running club in her community, greeting participants and setting up running courses with mile markers and water stops. Lee has run numerous road races, including nine marathons, and loves to use her graphic design skills to help others promote running events. She also uses her talents to create logos, newsletters, and web pages for other nonprofit agencies and serves on committees and boards for several good causes, including 4-H, Ottawa Young Professionals, and United Way. As a board member of Franklin County Habitat for Humanity, she has helped the board develop and grow, used her communication expertise to assist with the chapter’s social media, and helped manage and recruit volunteers for projects.

Her nominator wrote: “DeEtta not only helps with many programs, she actually initiates community improvement efforts and gets others involved in helping to carry out the project.” She co-authored grants and formed a partnership with her hometown library to provide summer literacy programs. The result accommodated over 150 students.

Always wanting to learn more, Lee jumps at the chance to take training to improve on her skills. She’s an active member of the Social Media Club of Kansas City, where she learns new tips and tricks to enhance her professional career. She also enjoys sharing with others what she has learned so they can grow as well.

A genuine and sincere faith flows from Lee’s heart, and just like a muscle, her faith is exercised daily with a strong desire to do what is right. She writes and collects holiday greetings for the Red Cross program Holiday Mail for Heroes and has played volleyball with youth on the Special Olympics team to help them better their skills. Lee also has taught CPR to community groups, helping potential bystanders learn life-saving care. Through the program Girls on the Run, Lee volunteered her time with girls in third through eighth grades to teach life skills and the basics of running.

A person like Lee is truly the heart of a community, helping others grow, promoting good health, and being a positive force to bring people together to meet a need.