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The Chillicothe Voice

IN THE SPOTLIGHT — Darbi Dietrich

Feb 23, 2024 03:55PM ● By Sherry Killion Adams

In writing this column, I’ve found that you don’t have to be born in Chillicothe to love Chillicothe. Many transplants have grown to love this community as their own. One of these people is Darbi Dietrich. Darbi describes Chillicothe as, “a small town with a big heart.” she goes on to say, “that the generosity and compassion that the residents in this town have for others is unsurpassed.”

Darbi Spain Dietrich was born in Pekin and graduated from Pekin High School in 1989. From there she attended ISU getting her undergraduate degree in 1993 and going on to graduate with a master’s degree in communications in 1995. 

After graduating she began her 25+ career in Human Resources. During that time she met and married her husband, Toby, who was from Sparland. The two have been married for 30 years. They have three children, Chase, Drake, and Ava,  all of which have flown the coop now.

Darbi initially came to Chillicothe after Barb Truitt passed away and the family was looking for someone to remodel the house on the river where she lived, and someone recommended Toby Dietrich for the job. Toby not only took the job but he and Darbi moved into and rented the house for a few years. After the river flooded two out of the three years they lived there, they decided to move to a higher and dryer location in Chillicothe.

When the children were in school, Darbi was a substitute teacher in the IVC school district, as well as the PTA president at South School. In those years she also worked at various concession stands, helped in the Discovery Land Children’s ministry at Northwoods church, volunteered with Youth for Christ, and has been a “can shaker” (collected money) for St. Jude for 15 years.

Darbi has been working at Caterpillar for 15 years now in talent acquisition, which she says is a big name for a recruiter. Currently, Darbi volunteers with Pet Pack Rescue Initiative which is a local not for profit foster-based dog rescue. After “foster failing” it brings her pet count to three, she now only temp fosters for other fosters when they go on vacations or trips!

She began volunteering for relay for life as a team leader in 2011 never thinking she would be a recipient of funds raised when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 at the age of 40. She has been cancer-free for 11 years now.

A few years ago in 2016, Darbi was asked by her high school friend, Ian Goldberg, to take over the Chairperson position for the Three Sisters Summer Music Camp Community Fund vacated by Jack Morgenstein’s passing. Ian told her they still wanted someone local who really knew the community like Jack did to head it up, so she agreed to help out her friend and her community.

The Summer Camp Music Festival gives out thousands of dollars to the Chillicothe community each year. They donate $1.25 of every ticket sold to the fund. To date, the Goldberg organization has given out $268,000 to non-profit groups in Chillicothe.

The guidelines to apply for the money are; you must be non for profit, not receive any tax dollars, submit a W-9, and have a plan for how the money will  impact our town. Applications are online August through September. Based on feedback from the community Darbi recommended offering a resident’s pass to the Summer Camp. This pass allows Chillicothe residents a discounted ticket to the festival. 

If you have never been to Summer Camp it is a sight to behold. I went on a tour last year and was amazed at the virtual city that is set up inside Three Sisters Park. Thousands of tents, any type of food you can imagine, booths with beautiful handmade jewelry, clothes, and items are to be found everywhere! Each year you can go on a tour with the police department if you sign up. It was very eye opening and all the young (and old) people we saw and talked to were friendly and happy to see us.

Next year, the Summer Music Camp is changing a few things. The name will be “Solshine Reverie” and will feature a variety of live performances from musicians spanning a wide range of genres. I’m sure there will still be a camp city, tons of food, goods, and a lot of music to take in.

Kudos to our Chillicothe and the county and state police officers that do a great job policing the camp during the week that the festival is going on. Like any venue it takes a lot of work to keep it under control. I know there are some problems, but most of the people there are just there to listen to music and have a fun weekend.

When I asked Darbi what she considered her greatest accomplishment she said, “out of everything that I’ve done, I’m most proud of my children and the adults they have become, it’s the best feeling you can have!”

Thank you Darbi for all your involvement in our town. You are one of the people who make this town a special place to live.