In 2007, Deb Lockwood began her relationship with the Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) through our annual Golf-A-Thon fundraiser. Deb and her husband Mike, members of Indian River Club, wanted to support their club pro, Joe Kern, during his marathon day of golf that benefited the VNA’s Charitable Care Program. As friends of Joe’s, they wanted to volunteer their time out on the golf course the day of the event and make a donation to support him.

Shortly after Deb began volunteering for the Golf-A-Thon, her father-in-law needed home hospice care from the VNA. Deb thought that hospice was only for the last week of someone’s life, but her experience with VNA Hospice for her father-in-law’s care opened her eyes. Deb saw firsthand that hospice is so much more. Of the VNA’s services, Deb noted: “It was an awesome way for him to be able to stay at home because that’s what they wanted, to be able to have quality care come to the house.”

It wasn’t just the care he received, it was the support for the family as well. Deb was impressed by the educational component of hospice care, helping the family understand the different stages of end-of-life. “It was a great way to help not only him but also a family through end-of-life,” she said.

After her firsthand experience with the VNA, Deb has continued her support through her Golf-A-Thon participation. She continues to donate her time volunteering the day of the event and financially support the VNA through this annual event. Serving on the Golf-A-Thon Committee for Indian River Club since 2019, Deb loves that she can see her effort through the end result. Deb has seen the Golf-A-Thon become more successful year after year. She knows she is a part of making that happen while helping patients receive the care they need.

Her time on the Golf-A-Thon Committee also gives her the opportunity to learn more about VNA’s programs and services through educational sessions held with the 60-plus members of the Committee. Deb was surprised to learn about the breadth and depth of VNA’s services, including the VNA’s Respite Care Program at the VNA Hospice House, We Honor Veterans, the VNA Mobile Health Clinic and so much more. Deb’s involvement with the Golf-A-Thon as a donor, volunteer and Committee member has reinforced her belief that the VNA’s mission is a good cause worth supporting.

Deb’s philanthropic endeavors span across multiple non-profits in our area. She served for many years on the board and committees of the Indian River Community Foundation. She has an active role with Head, Heart & Hands of Indian River Club as well. It was this work that made her aware of the needs in our community. For a long time, Deb thought of philanthropy as exclusively monetary donations because while she was busy traveling most weeks of the year for work, she only had time to write a check. But when her travel time lessened and she retired, Deb realized that donating time is also needed and can be just as meaningful as a monetary donation. She enjoys volunteering to assist organizations with their strategic planning as well as events like the Golf-A-Thon and plans to continue to do so.

Deb told us: “I think philanthropy is important not only for the community and the organizations and the people that need the help but also for you as a person to reinforce just how thankful you should be.” We are thankful there are people like Deb in our community who understand the importance of philanthropy and are willing to donate their time and funds to ensure those who need help receive it. Deb and others like her are champions of the VNA, philanthropically supporting us to ensure we can achieve our mission in the community.