Betty Streett’s outlook on life is along these lines: whatever you do, do it well and trust in God’s plans.
A Lewes native, she started school in the two-room Belltown School. When she started the seventh grade, she went to William C. Jason High School in Georgetown. Schools became integrated and she moved back to Lewes, graduating from Lewes High School in 1970.
What was it like attending segregated school? “We were fine,” she says with a smile that never seems to fade. “You just have to go with the flow. You have to be you all the time.”
Streett’s story revolves around family, church and community. She went to Christ Church with her grandfather. “He always told us, ‘If you can stay out all night, you can get up and go to church.’” She strayed a bit from that path, but returned to the church with encouragement from her sister-in-law. Her husband and children went with her.
She gave her life to Christ and she’s worked tirelessly for her church community ever since. “I’m not one who likes to stand out front. I like to work behind the scenes,” she said.
She works on The Lewes Charge Connection Newspaper, a publication of Israel United Methodist Church and Rehoboth Beach’s Faith United Methodist Church. She works in the Women’s Ministry, is assistant to the treasurer and is co-chairwoman of the Lay Nominations Committee. When her children were in the church’s youth group, she took part in that, too.
Streett’s husband, William, to whom she has been married since 1974, retired from Verizon three years ago. He works in the church, too, and takes care of the Rabbit’s Ferry Community Center, formerly the one-room schoolhouse. “He says he’s sometimes busier than when he was at work. But, they know when they call him, it’ll be done. You always ask the busy person to get things done,” she says with a laugh.
That seems to be a trait the couple shares.
She organized the church’s recent community safety and awareness day, which brought local residents, businesses and police together to discuss safety and issues of community concern. “I am a person who likes to read the local newspaper. I like knowing what’s going on in our community. If I am more aware, I can better prepare myself to know what to do,” she said.
She encourages others to do the same to protect themselves and their children.
Streett grew up with three sisters and one brother. Where their parents went, they went, she said. She and her siblings went along and helped her mother clean local houses.
“If you work hard, great things will come to you,” said Streett. She worked as a summer secretary at the Cape Henlopen School District, then as a teacher’s aid. She enrolled at Delaware Technical and Community College after she raised her three sons, and graduated in 1992, with honors, with a degree in office systems technology. She’s been the operations supervisor at Comtrack Corporation since then.
Treated for breast cancer in 1998, Streett has been fundraising for cancer research ever since. “I had my family and many angels from Israel UMC, who took the time to care for me for that I was truly blessed. I believe God had a better plan for my life than I did,” she said.
She and Betty Gooch established the Miracle Angels, an Israel UMC group that has raised $100,000 for cancer research through American Cancer Society walks over 10 years.
Now, Miracle Angels donates money to a patients’ fund at the Tunnell Cancer Center.
She said she’s now trying to help her church rethink itself and the way it delivers its message. “We have to go out into the community and let them know what God can do for them. You are welcome here no matter who you are,” she said, in her warm, welcoming tone.
It’s a lot of work, but she still finds time to take trips with her sons, read and enjoy the beach.
“I grew up in this community, so this is my home and where my heart is,” Streett said.