Barbie Butz (pronounced Boots) says she has a non-profit personality. A glance at a single-spaced page listing organizations shes served through the years underscores that. Others who know her readily agree.
Joanne Main, president of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, called Barbie a tireless worker for the community, adding that Barbie does it with honey. She respects people and is kind you just want to follow her.
Well go out on a limb and say that nearly every civic or charity achievement in Atascadero over the last 25 years was accomplished in part through Barbies efforts: as parks and recreation commissioner and key player in opening the citys sole youth center, in furnishing the Pavilion on the Lake, in chairing the Atascadero Wine Festival to support renovation of the Charles Paddock Zoo; and serving on the boards of the Atascadero Chamber of Commerce, the Atascadero Youth Task Force and the Colony Days committee to name just a few.
I think its in your genes, said Barbie, an elegant 74-year-old, of her penchant for service. Barbies mother was a PTA president; her father started a baseball little league.
When Barbie timed out as board member of the North County Womens Shelter, she formed Friends of the North County Womens Shelter to continue her support. She also has served on the boards of countywide agencies like Court Appointed Special Advocates; and the Assistance League of San Luis Obispo County, through which she helped found Operation School Bell to provide needy children with clothing for school.
Some people call me an advocate for youth my husband calls me too busy, she jokes. A handwritten schedule on a folded yellow paper listed 12 meetings just last week.
I take it day by day, added the mother of three and grandmother of 12, saying that she has always made time for family.
Perhaps more impressive than Barbies tenacity and dedication to her community is the humility and charm with which she speaks of her accomplishments: You just dont do things alone. You can never take all the credit.
As a leader, she says, she simply uses her skills to bring out the best in others.
Barbie writes a weekly column Around About Atascadero for the Atascadero News, has kissed a pig to raise money for CASA, and recently danced in Atascaderos Dancing with our Stars to support the library expansion fund. But this local luminary was surprised and humbled last week when, while studying a roast at the Atascadero Vons meat counter, a woman admiringly inquired, Are you Barbie?! They went on to chat about Barbies Atascadero News column.
Since moving to Atascadero in 1980, where she taught English, Barbie has shown what it means to truly serve a community. And she shows no signs of stopping. She wants Atascadero to have a community pool and a downtown with a clearer identity; she networks on Facebook; and she is wearing a pink flamingo pin on her lapel to promote the Atascadero Wine Festival next Saturday to benefit the zoo.
Barbies parents would be proud. The Tribune certainly is. For turning her life into a model of selfless community service, Barbie Butz is Junes unsung hero.