“There are no greater role models for community service than Scott and Debby McKeown. Passionate about Barry County, they look for ways to make a difference,” one nomination letter stated.
The couple started their accounting business, McKeown Kraii Professional CPAs in Middleville in 1985. They worked together in the accounting business and have been able to provide training and opportunities for many young accountants, including two of their own sons. Kyle and Michael McKeown now work in the family business.
In addition to having their own accounting firm, the McKeowns have been active in many community organizations. Deb was one of the first board members of the Thornapple Area Enrichment foundation then joined the marking committee for Barry Community Foundation. She then served on the foundation board and after her first term, ending in 2003, she joined BCF as the financial director to assist in the implementation of the Community Pearl Software. She served on the Community Foundation for 12 years.
Deb was also a founding member of the Women’s Giving Circle. She’s served as the finance director at the Middleville United Methodist Church, has been a volunteer at TK Schools for many years, coached Odyssey of the Mind teams for at least 10 years and has served as an OM judge.
Scott serves on the Spectrum Health Pennock Foundation Board, Barry Community Foundation Board and the Hastings City Bank Board. He’s also been a member of the investment committee for Barry Community Foundation for many years, offering his insights and expertise to help the foundation maintain financial security and stability.
He is currently participating in a national committee called “REDPIN” (Rural Economic Development & Philanthropy Innovative Network) along with several other community members to create a community-wide focus on workforce and talent development.
The couple has also assisted in estate planning for Samuel McKeown, creating a very robust and well-funded scholarship program for TK students.
Both are very modest about what they've done for the community. “This is where we raised our family. The community gave us so much always we just felt like we wanted to give back where we could,” said Deb.
“It's an honor - absolutely,” said Scott. “I look at the people who have received this honor already and a lot of them are people who were mentors to me. My Dad was a past recipient and I always looked up to him.”
Deb said she values what the community and the schools have given her family. “TK and the Middleville community have been a partner in raising our family and our kids. As a mother, my sole purpose is to raise my children right and give them the best we can. The community played a very big role.”
“We did not do it alone,” said Scott of the success of his four sons who now all have returned to Middleville to start their own successful careers. Kyle and Michael are working in the accounting business, Brian has an established dental practice, and Patrick is an emergency room physician at Spectrum Pennock Hospital.
In recognizing the McKeown’s many of the nominating letters made a point of recognizing their commitment to the community and serving as role models and leaders.
“I watched Scott and Debby teach their boys the value of faith, family, hard work, dedication, education and community service. This “teaching” was a shared commitment and their approach to parenting was a definite influence in the way I parented. Each of their children is now living out those values and are teaching them to their own children. It’s such a joy to watch the legacy continue,” wrote one nomination letter.
“Deb and Scott are incredibly outstanding people in our community that never want any recognition for all that they do. Their work is done quietly in the background but the results are felt across our community.
A dinner to honor the 2018 Hometown Hero will be hosted by the Thornapple Area Enrichment Foundation Sept. 27. The dinner in the McKeown’s honor raises funds for the TAEF scholarship fund. It will be held at the Barry County Expo Center. Reservations can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 269-945-0526 by Sept. 20. Cost is $35 per person or $400 to be a table sponsor for eight.
For more information about the Thornapple Area Enrichment Foundation visit Facebook (Thornapple Area Enrichment Foundation) or the website www.thornapplefoundation.org.