Former Valley resident named Citizen of the Year

Staff Report

Kate DeSchryver Hargens, a 2002 graduate of Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, was recently named Citizen of the Year in Audubon, Iowa.

The local Chamber of Commerce noted Hargens’ large impact in a short time and the way her treatment of challenges as opportunities, rather than roadblocks, has had a positive impact on the local business community.

While raising three young children, Hargens spearheaded the establishment of the Children’s Nest Childcare Center. Her leadership was cited as instrumental in the grant applications and fundraising efforts. She is a prominent spokesperson for the Audubon County Early Childhood Organization, which is the parent organization for the Children’s Nest. Chamber officials noted that the Children’s Nest has been key in attracting young working parents to Audubon businesses.

Hargens is active with the Audubon Methodist Church Education Committee and founded the Ovals, a young women’s group at the church. She is also a board member for the Rose Theater Renovation and co-chair of its successful fundraising committee. On behalf of the Audubon School District, she served on a grant-writing advisory council.

She is a 4-H youth leader and formed the first Veterinary Science Club within the Audubon County 4-H program. Today, she has a burgeoning broiler and layer hen operation and sells her products locally.

Hargens earned her undergraduate degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in animal science in 2006 and received her master’s degree in meat science from Oklahoma State in 2009.

She and her husband, Dr. Travis Hargens, have three children — Gage, 5, and 2-year-old twins Jack and Millie.