September 22, 2020 @ 12:00am

Giving Back Never Retires

Move over, pickleball. There’s volunteering to be done!

When most people think of retirement, they imagine relaxing, a bit of travel, and unlimited free time. But not Deb Horan. Deb, who has volunteered throughout her life, decided to ramp up her volunteering hours after retiring in 2011. She cares so deeply about her community that she looked at retirement as an opportunity to help others even more.

On top of serving on the Merrillan Village Board as a volunteer for nearly 10 years, Deb serves as president of Project Christmas, coordinating the collection, packing, and distribution of gifts, nonperishable food, and food vouchers to help low-income families during the holiday season. This community-based organization has grown from serving roughly 30 families to serving over 500 in the 37 years it’s been around.

After teaching special education for 10 years in Illinois and 25 in Black River Falls, Deb realized she had room on her plate for two of her passions, more volunteering and gardening. She took on a part-time job at Falls Florist and Greenhouse, which only makes sense as she loves flowers and planting.

It's a wonder to think about how the world would be if we all had the same attitude about life as Deb. “I believe everybody has to give back in some way,” she says. “I think that’s how our society works. Everybody needs to do a little bit, so I do my little bit, too. I feel very blessed to be able to live the life I have.”

To learn more about the great things Project Christmas is doing, check out the Project Christmas facebook page.

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