Talented Volunteer Manager 2023
2023 has been a momentous year for Mabel Dobbs. In the spring, she was greeted at her office at Angel Wings Network in Weiser, Idaho, by members of the Beta Sigma Phi sorority carrying bouquets of yellow roses. The sorority had elected Mabel First Lady of Weiser.
“How exciting is that?” Mabel said at the time. “It wasn’t about a month later that I got a call from Weiser Valley Roundup. They wanted to know if I would honor them and be their Grand Marshall for the Roundup this year.”
Mabel was a cattle rancher for many years with her husband and they looked forward to the Roundup every year, so serving as Grand Marshall was extra meaningful.
For the past 10 years, Mabel has dedicated her ‘retirement’ to the Angel Wings Network, working to aid cancer patients and their families with the myriad of issues that arise during their fight against cancer.
As Mabel’s award nominator wrote, “Mabel is dedicated to the mission of helping cancer patients in rural areas in Southwestern Idaho and works roughly 50+ hours a week, taking calls 7 days a week, and is always ready to lend a hand or sign up a community member fighting the fight.”
Working hard and breaking glass ceilings in predominantly male fields has been a theme in Mabel’s life. Before becoming a cattle rancher with her husband, she worked in real estate lending. When she retired, her friend, who was the founder of Angel Wings Network, approached her about becoming part of the organization.
“Once I got involved working with cancer patients, it touched my heart,” Mabel said. “So many people have been touched by cancer,” she said. “When I go talk to a school group, I ask for a show of hands of those who know someone who’s been touched by cancer. 90% of the hands go up. Everyone knows someone.”
For Mabel, it’s a form of ministry, a way to serve.
After taking nine months off in 2017 to care for her husband before he passed, she returned to Angel Wings, this time as the Executive Director. Under her leadership, Angel Wings Network grew from a non-profit with an annual budget of approximately $30,000 to an annual budget of $130,000 since 2018.
What does Mabel suggest for others interested in getting involved with causes that are close to their heart?
For one, don’t stop.
“So many people, and particularly those who are retired, sit down and stop. It can feel hard to get motivated. But once you get started, you’ll find you want to keep going,” Mabel said. “Every volunteer who’s come in has such a passion for what they do. It touches them.”
Mabel is a gifted storyteller and knows the power of a story to connect people to a cause. “I spoke at a Lion’s Club in Payette and Parma with one of our key transport drivers. She had just lost some of the people she’d been transporting. We’d get up to tell Angel Wings’ story, and for people to hear what it means from the driver's perspective, you’d see tears come to their eyes.”
Mabel is a pro at bringing people together to help Angel Wings Network thrive, and she’s quick to give credit to her team of volunteers. “I have an amazing board,” she said. “This is all run by volunteers. They are all wonderful with big hearts and a lot of passion for what we do. They make the wheels turn.”
Recently, when Sue, a key volunteer board member, was moving to Utah, Mabel half-jokingly told her she needed to find her replacement. “That’s the deal,” Mabel joked with her. Sue did one better. When Sue got ready to leave, two women from her church came in to help. “They’re doing the bulk of the data entry,” Mabel said.
A true leader, Mabel knows the power of working together for a cause. “There’s never one person that gets it done,” Mabel said. “It truly takes a community, a village.”