Once a month, Bonnie Rybak and her fellow Rotarians unload pallets of food from a Citrus County Blessings truck at First Presbyterian Church in Inverness to be sorted and packed in bags.
On the days Let’s Feed Citrus has a food distribution, Rybak is there, loading food into people’s vehicles and doing whatever else needs to be done for the hundreds of cars filled with people needing food to feed their families or give to their neighbors.
“I mark the dates on my calendar because that’s a priority for me,” Rybak said.
And that’s true.
But, it’s someone like Bonnie Rybak, who prefers being behind the scenes doing the small but nevertheless important tasks, who is exactly the kind of person an organization — or a community — needs to thrive.
Because of her willingness to be in the background, to do the work and not expect or even desire the glory, because of her enthusiasm and energy and passion for making the community a better place, whether unloading trucks, serving on boards, tutoring or raising funds, because of her dependability and perseverance, Bonnie Rybak is the 2022 Citrus County Chronicle Citizen of the Year.
Each year, the Chronicle Editorial Board solicits the community for nominees of people who have a positive impact on the lives of others.
Rybak was nominated by Inverness businesswoman Linda VanAllen.
“Bonnie is a rare gift in our community, and it’s time she was recognized for all her hard work,” VanAllen said. “Whatever she does, whatever board she’s on, she’s passionate about making it successful and determined to do whatever she can.
“When you get to know Bonnie, you know that every day when she gets up she’s wondering who she can help that day. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does.”