One can’t help detecting a southern accent when speaking to Debra. Born in Oklahoma City, but living in Austin, Texas for most of her adult life, she chose to move to Saint Joseph in 2001 after taking a brief vacation here. She has been a Rotarian since 2012 and has served as the Youth Exchange Officer for the past four years. She has also worked with Interact, the annual Track Meet, Student Mentoring Program, and writing the weekly E-Wheel for the club. She is now serving as the club Communications Officer and is a new Board of Directors member. She also remains on the District Youth Exchange Committee as the Rebound/Rotex Chairman.
As the past co-founder and President/co-Owner of Environmental Training, Inc. she was the author of over 35 textbooks, and over 100+ Operations and Maintenance Manuals for water and wastewater personnel in treatment plants in the southwestern and southern states of the United States. In the early 1900’s she created and directed an annual hunting and fishing trade show, the Just Fishin’ Show.
Her greatest endeavor was playing, managing and coaching competitive level youth and adult soccer teams. She became the longest Regional National Cups Commissioner in the United States Adult Soccer Association, of the United States Soccer Federation, making significant changes in the national cup games. She was inducted into the South Texas Soccer Association Hall of Fame in 1999 and inducted into the US Soccer Hall of Fame in 2008. She retired in 2012.
Directly after graduating from Oklahoma Baptist University, Debra worked first for the Daily Oklahoman and the Internal Revenue Service. In 1972 she joined the Army, feeling a desire to give back to her country. She was officially in the last class of the Women Army Corps (WAC’s). The next graduating class were then called “Army Personnel”. She spent the next four years in Wurzburg, Germany as a communications expert in morse code, teletype and cryptographic operations. She also traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East. Re-enlisting for another four years she was then attached to the 12th Special Forces where she received her wings for parachuting and medals for distinguished expert in all rifles, grenades and pistols. She again re-enlisted for a final four years and became a U.S. Army Recruiter, earning 5 Gold Stars.
Since moving to Michigan she was a Bank Branch Manager in a newly opened in-store bank in South Haven and then a writer for Marketing Partners. She worked with Gateway and with Child & Family Services as the Director of Development and Marketing.
She retired in 2012, but it was short lived. She served as the Executive Director of the LaPorte County Habitat for Humanity but left 10 months later for health reasons. She is now the Village Clerk for Shoreham Village. Debra says her real jobs are taking care of her family, concentrating on her 125 year old home and being involved in her Rotary Club. She says she joined to be a part of something beneficial to her community and to the world. She has stayed a Rotarian because she is doing just that.