Darla Doorhy of Kait’s Angels named Citizen of the Year by Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association

For her longstanding dedication to those enduring trying times, Darla Doorhy received the Mattituck-Laurel Civic Association’s 2022 Citizen of the Year award Thursday at Veterans Park in Mattituck.

From her seat on the board of the nonprofit Kait’s Angels, founded in memory of her daughter Kaitlyn, who died after being struck by a car in 2014, Ms. Doorhy has helped scores of North Fork and Shelter Island residents. She continues to live by a phrase she often attributes to her daughter: “God gave you two hands, one to do for yourself and one to do for others.”

Since its inception, the organization has donated money to various local causes, from children and their families in need, to residents burdened by medical expenses and even a family looking to honor a fallen first responder. Among the nonprofit’s fundraising efforts are an annual charity run and pig roast, a designer bag “Wingo” raffle and a massive yard sale of items donated by members of the community.

“You’ve taken on and continue all the good work [Kaitlyn] would have done if she were still with us,” Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said, presenting Ms. Doorhy with an official proclamation. “What you mean to this community, the legacy you are leaving on behalf of your daughter, it’s absolutely astounding.”

Ms. Doorhy also received proclamations from New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo and Suffolk County Legis. Al Krupski in recognition of her efforts before civic association president Charles Gueli presented her with the “Citizen of the Year” plaque.

“There are people in the community who have never needed you and hope never are going to need you,” Mr. Gueli said. “But you give them all comfort because they know that if they ever do need you, you’d be there to try and help.”


Thursday evening marked the civic association’s eighth annual Citizen of the Year event. Each year, members nominate local residents or workers employed within Southold who make a difference in the community. From there, the civic board pares down the list of nominees.

After reviewing a slate of three finalists, the board voted unanimously to recognize Ms. Doorhy.

By her count, Ms. Doorhy estimates that Kait’s Angels has already helped hundreds of people within its first decade. At this point, she can hardly keep track of all the lives she’s touched.

“In the past nine years, there’s been so many people we helped, to remember every one of their names, it’s really hard,” Ms. Doorhy said. “Some people come up to me, like this little boy who said ‘hey Ms. Doorhy, you remember you bought me my eye?’ I said ‘we did?’ And he took it out.”

But there were several names Ms. Doorhy did not forget Thursday evening: those of her fellow Kait’s Angels supporters who she called “her second family.” She flipped the evening’s script from a heavy, emotional ceremony recognizing an individual who has endured difficult times to a more light-hearted affair that celebrated all of those who have made the foundation possible.

She called the Kait’s Angels in attendance up to the podium one-by-one to join her in receiving the honor, starting with her “go-to guy” and husband, Joe Doorhy. Laughter roared through the room as she acknowledged her husband’s contributions to the organization, joking that “all of the homemade products that are on our website, candles, hand and body lotion, soap and lip balm, he makes them in his meth lab.”


Anyone who knows Ms. Doorhy could have predicted she would try to skirt the spotlight Thursday evening. In fact, before her daughter, Carly, persuaded her to accept the award, she tried to politely decline when the association’s founder Mary Eisenstein first informed her of the recognition.

“When Mary Eisenstein came to my job to tell me about this honor, I basically told her to have a nice day,” Ms. Doorhy said to the laughing crowd. “I told her to pick someone else. Well, she smiled and said ‘I’ll see you on March 23,’ and here we are.”