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Oak Harbor teens caught in the act of kindness
Oak Harbor Police Department Lt. John Dyer gave a talking to three North Whidbey teens last week.
The trio was singled out not for recklessness behavior or disturbing the peace, but rather for their individual contributions to the community.
A member of the Island County Children’s Commission, Lt. Dyer bestowed a newly created honor on Paul Derting, Becca Moeia and Chad Merrill for making North Whidbey a better place.
The award, dubbed “Caught in the Act,” recognizes the community’s youngest good Samaritans.
A survey by the Children’s Commission found that young people in the community crave more positive representation and adults wish for more opportunities to positively interact with teens, said Dyer.
Peggy Dyer, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Island County, nominated Paul Derting for his eagerness to give back to the program. For more than six years, Derting enjoyed the benefits of Big Brothers Big Sisters as a “little brother” to “big brother” Ron VanDyke until the teen grew out of the program at age 18.
“In the process of being mentored, Paul learned the value of having a role model and chose to become one,” Dyer said. “He has a natural ability and willingness that can’t be beat.”
Paul now serves as a “big brother” to two younger boys in the community.
Anne Murphy, Oak Harbor Sno-Isle teen services librarian, nominated Merrill, a regular library visitor who started a card playing group for youth called “Every Duelist in Town,” or E.D.I.T.
“Chad has shown both leadership and community building skills with the creation of E.D.I.T. I’ve watched the members learn to look out for each other and learn to resolve disputes in a productive manner,” she said. “The club provides members an opportunity to socialize and really gives them a place to belong.”
Moeia, a senior at Midway High School, was nominated by Midway High School teacher Leandra Reuble.
As part of her community service requirements for school, Moeia coordinated a food collection drive for the Ronald McDonald House. She worked with Safeway to make the arrangements, did all of the advertising for the collection and delivered more than 300 items of food to the charity.
Mayor Jim Slowik applauded the youth for their work in the community.
“Being a public servant is the best reward,” he said.