Carrie Kimel arrived at the Harlem Woman's Club on Thursday ready to celebrate a friend being named the group's 2009 Citizen of the Year.
She was duped.
It was Kimel who earned the award.
"I was all excited," Kimel said, who arrived with her camera ready to document her friend's special moment. "I was completely shocked. ... I am very honored. Thank you so much."
Jean Dove, who is on the committee that chose Kimel, said the club motto revolves around citizenship by improving the community through public service, volunteer work and other efforts.
Previous winners of the award include Woman's Club members Doris Belcher, Margie Bennett, Ann Blalock, Sue Whiddon and Mary Sanders.
No one who knows Kimel was surprised she was named as the club's 12th annual Citizen of the Year.
"Most of the time you hear Carrie before you see Carrie," said Derry Kitchens, who has spent years working with Kimel as volunteers in the Cub Scouts. "But once you get to know Carrie, you realize that her voice is really the smallest part of her because her heart is really the biggest part."
Kimel is a member of Harlem United Methodist Church, spending each October helping in the church's Pumpkin Patch. She volunteers at North Harlem Elementary School and is a volunteer in the Woman's Club, Harlem's annual Relay for Life and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Dove said Kimel is known to offer assistance to anyone ill, by sitting with them or providing meals, and spends time with sick patients at the Medical College of Georgia.
Kimel is very familiar with the hospital because her 7-year-old son, Zackary, just completed chemotherapy for a rare form of leukemia.
"I would just like to say that I like how my Mom has always been supportive of me all the way through three-and-a-half years of my cancer," Zackary said before the group at the ceremony.
Kimel's husband, Army Chief Warrant Officer Dave Kimel, and sons, David, 18, Zane, 10, and Zackary, snuck into the ceremony and presented roses to the teary-eyed Harlem woman.
Dave said his wife is very strong and he's proud of her. She keeps the household running smoothly. She handles his unpredictable work schedule, that often takes him away from home, in stride.
In the Army, he said, commanders' vehicles are referred to with the unit and the number six.
"I refer to my wife, to all my friends and everybody I know, as Household 6, because she is the commander of the house," Dave Kimel said. "She's got everything going."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.