One Richland County woman and mother of five is tirelessly devoted to making a difference in her community despite having a full plate of her own.
Stephanie DeFreese, a wife, mom and a full-time employee at Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina, also volunteers for more organizations than can be counted.
We met her at her first Girl Scout troop meeting of the year at St. John Neumann Catholic School. She’s led this troop for 10 years after initially looking for a troop for her oldest daughter, Hailey, to join.
"When she was in preschool, I knew I loved being a Girl Scout and I really wanted that same thing for her. I looked around and I didn’t see any close to our home and so I started the program here,” DeFreese explained.
Over the last decade the troop has grown to serve many young girls in the community. While leading the troop takes up a good bit of time, it’s only one of 100 things she gives her time to. Just ask freshman student and Girl Scout Willa Catherine Zieler.
“I’ve known Stephanie for eight years, she was my basketball coach, my soccer coach, my Girl Scout leader and my Junior League helper,” said Zeiler.
While the list goes on, Stephanie’s husband said his wife wouldn’t have it any other way.
"My wife is a very driven person just in general, so she’s passionate about everything that she does," said Michael DeFreese.
Stephanie sits on numerous boards, coaches multiple teams and sports, volunteers for the American Heart Association, MDA, Junior League, Arthritis Foundation and was the 2016 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year raising more than $140,000 for the cause.
All of these reasons are why DeFreese is WIS's latest Community Builder in partnership with Mungo Homes. We surprised her with the news at the Girl Scout meeting.
"We’ve heard about your outstanding service with our Girl Scouts in our community and we would also like to present you with $1,000 for the charity of your
choosing,” said Brittany Brazell of Mungo Homes at the presentation. “We just really want to thank you for your service in our community.”
It’s service that those who know Stephanie are so very proud of.
"I’m very proud of my mom, she does a lot more things that not normal moms would do," said DeFreese's oldest daughter.
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