Book Fairy Pat Suggs
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Hooked on Service

A BYU grad is recognized for tireless community service.

Pat Suggs and her husband, Ernest, have made community service a happy habit. Photo courtesy of the Suggs family.

What happens when a book fairy gets caught? Pat Forsyth Suggs (BS ’74) learned firsthand—frozen mid-creep on the porch—when she was discovered by the boy to whom she’d secretly been delivering books. Both were temporarily speechless, but soon the boy began to chant, “Book fairy, book fairy!”

“Shh,” Suggs whispered. “Don’t tell,” before slipping off to her car.

The Book Fairy Program in Washougal, Washington, recruited volunteers like Suggs to encourage reading among children. It’s one of many local service projects Suggs has supported over the past 13 years. She’s done everything from assisting the East County Family Resource Center to sitting on the Camas-Washougal Historical Society Board. For her dedication, she was named the Camas/Washougal 2023 Citizen of the Year.

Suggs developed an early love of books from reading Little House on the Prairie and other children’s classics. A teacher encouraged her, advising, “You should read every day at least twice: once for pleasure, once for information.”

Suggs and her husband, Ernest Suggs (BS ’74, MEd ’75), joined the Church of Jesus Christ in their early 20s and then went to BYU. Pat studied elementary education and hoped to teach kids to read.

The Suggses eventually moved to Washougal, where they have lived for 48 years, raising six daughters and serving in the Church. Thirteen years ago, Pat heard a prophetic invitation in general conference to get involved in the community. And so, at age 61, she joined the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The organization was partnering with Operation Smile at the time, and Pat sewed hospital gowns and prepared other items for children undergoing cleft-lip surgery. Soon she was hooked on service.

Since then, Suggs has run food and clothing drives, supported community programs to address drug abuse, and served on committees to preserve local heritage and keep her town safe, among many other efforts. But her favorite projects are tied to her lifelong love—reading. “Reading is important to me,” she explains. “You can’t do anything if you can’t read.”

Suggs keeps busy serving today. In the process she says her life has become—like the book fairy—something magical.