Mom of the Year 2011PULLMAN, Wash. — Washington State University presented the 2011 Mom of the Year Award to Dorris Brueggeman during the annual Mom’s Weekend Brunch on Saturday, April 9. Brueggeman was nominated by her daughter Nikki Brueggeman, a junior at WSU.

A resident of College Place, Brueggeman was described by her daughter as her guardian angel.

Dorris Brueggeman and her husband adopted their daughter despite the many difficulties and the discrimination they faced during the process due to Dorris’ blindness, her daughter wrote in her nomination.

“Before I was handed into her care,” Brueggeman’s daughter said, “they had one final statement of warning, ‘Mrs. Brueggeman, you do know this little girl is black, correct?’ My mother responded that I could have been covered in polka dots and she still would have taken me.

“Because of her blindness my mother was unable to act like a traditional mother, driving me to school or extracurricular activities, but this did not stop her from making sure I was able to have a normal and happy childhood.”

Brueggeman is an active member in her town and in the blind community. She has served as secretary and treasurer of the United Blind of Walla Walla since 1992 and has worked with the organization to bring signals to crosswalks in downtown Walla Walla. She also sits on the fundraising committee for the Guide Dog Users of Washington State. Her daughter said she was the first blind piano teacher of the Simply Music method, which she now teaches to children and adults in her hometown.

Besides her job and volunteer work, Brueggeman has always been involved in her daughter’s education. She was active in her elementary school Parent Teacher Association, volunteered time and money at the school cafeteria and is a donor to the Women’s Transit Program at WSU.

Brueggeman said that her mother encouraged her interest in history – her major at WSU – by taking her to visit historical sites in the East coast of the U.S. while she was in elementary school and also by encouraging her to study abroad while at WSU.

“I owe my mother everything,” the young Brueggeman said. “If not for this woman, I do not know where I would be. She has raised me, nurtured me, punished me when I deserved it, comforted me and saved my life from myself.”

The other two finalists for the Mom of the Year Award were Rhonda Borden of Elma, nominated by her daughter Briana Arnold; and Jill Massa of Warden, nominated by her daughter Chelsea Dinsmoor.

The Mom of the Year Award is coordinated by the Mom’s Weekend Committee under the direction of the Women’s Resource Center. The award is presented each year to recognize the impact mothers make on their children’s lives and to honor their personal achievements and their contributions to WSU and their local communities.