INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Meet your neighbor, Debbe Deverill, the co-chair of this year’s Incline Village Relay for Life and a dedicated community volunteer.
Deverill graduated in 1978 with a master’s degree in business administration from National University in San Diego. She is semi-retired from commercial real estate as a broker and director of marketing, assisting with home and space design and sales.
But it’s volunteering where Deverill, who grew up in San Diego, excels.
Besides her role with and passion for Relay For Life, most locals know Deverill for her help in founding and contributing to the annual Incline Star Follies education fundraiser.
“I brought the idea to some extremely caring parents and community members to help provide for the needs of our local schools,” Deverill said. “In the first year I was blessed to work with many talented and hardworking individuals.”
She credits Linda Offerdahl, Cindy McClelland, Nancy Glogauer, Frank Spees, Fonda Murch, Leroy Hardy and the Rev. Danny Bell for getting Follies of its feet.
“Now it’s in its 11th year and going strong, thanks to Don Hertel, Kathy Goldberg and Ron Stichter and their committee,” Deverill said.
Deverill got the idea to start the Follies here after working to help organize a similar event two decades ago in San Diego. She also has spent time volunteering with Rady’s Children's Hospital Auxiliary in San Diego.
Locally, she’s worked with the American Associated of University Women, helping organize a group of outdoor sport enthusiasts.
“(We’re) a group of women who enjoy one another’s company while hiking, walking, kayaking, snowshoeing around Lake Tahoe,” she said. “Though I no longer head the group, they are still growing and going strong.”
Keeping in the helping theme, Deverill has a slew of current volunteering events locally and in the San Diego area. Among them:
• Helped create her Homeowner Association’s “Holiday Outreach” program for the homeless in San Diego, providing food, personal items and gift cards to those not in shelters on Christmas Eve.
• Mission outreach for the First United Methodist Church in San Diego, providing dinner once a month to the homeless during the winter months.
• Community outreach for The Village Church to the Homeless Mission in Reno.
• Working with the Knitting Guild in Incline Village, she has provided handmade knitted and crocheted items for various organizations, including Tahoe Safe Alliance, and has made chemo caps for cancer patients and lap robes for wheelchair-bound patients at Tahoe Forest Hospital.
And there is more on the horizon.
“My next efforts are planned to be helping the recently released women prisoners in a halfway house in San Diego, organizing their lives to be productive citizens and teaching them life skills and knitting as a productive, calming pastime,” she said.
Besides volunteering, Deverill enjoys creating all kinds of crafts, including fiber arts, jewelry making, calligraphy and hand-made papers.
Deverill also runs a pair of “cottage” businesses, both holding a giving-back approach. One, called “Creative Celebrations,” is an event planning company that orchestrates events so the hosts can enjoy the party, rather than worrying about managing the proceedings.
“I parlayed that into organizing charity events for nonprofits, at no cost to them,” Deverill said.
She also started “D (heart) Designs,” which sells handmade knitted and crocheted items, cards and accessories.
“I hand-make 200-300 cards each year and a variety of knitted and crocheted items for clients and personal use,” Deverill said. “All proceeds from my businesses go to charity.”
This weekend, it’s all about Relay For Life, which kicks off at noon Saturday at Incline High School. Deverill is co-chair of the committee that puts on the Incline event each year, along with Ramona Cruz.
Deverill, a four-time cancer survivor, said she feels that it’s incumbent on her to work tirelessly for cancer awareness and to volunteer with Relay because she’s been lucky enough to beat the disease.
“I do what I do because I love helping people,” Deverill said. “I feel that part of my mission is to help others attain their highest potential and I try to achieve that in part by helping to create a supportive, creative, positive environment.”