Bob and Donna Hegstrom share the love at the Queen Anne Helpline on Thursday, Feb. 28. Photo by Craig Wilson

Bob and Donna Hegstrom share the love at the Queen Anne Helpline on Thursday, Feb. 28. Photo by Craig Wilson


By Mike Dillon

It was a large gathering with warm words to share in a relatively small space.

Late in the afternoon on Thursday, Feb. 28, more than two-dozen people turned out at the Queen Anne Helpline offices, 311 W. McGraw St., to honor Donna Hegstrom on her last day as a 20-year volunteer.

Hegstrom — who lives in Magnolia with her husband, Bob, a retired physician — started with the Helpline in 1993, after retiring from a long career in administration at Virginia Mason Medical Center. Her older sister, Pat Sobeck, Queen Anne Helpline executive director at the time, had asked her to help out with the annual auction.

“Just because you’ve never retired, you can’t stand to see your little sister retired,” Hegstrom joked with her sister then.

Over the years, Hegstrom has performed multiple duties at the nonprofit organization, as a working board member and as a steady hand behind many of the Helpline’s activities.

“You feel you’ve been given a special opportunity,” Hegstrom said of her time at the Helpline in a phone interview a few hours before Thursday’s party. “I really am so impressed and grateful for the support the Helpline has received from the community. It’s remarkable what this little agency has been able to do to change lives.”

At the party, a number of community voices paid tribute to Hegstrom. When her turn came, Hegstrom thanked her sister, Pat, who was traveling at the time. And then she acknowledged a long list of people at the Helpline and in the community.

Finally, “I will miss the people who call for help,” she said.