Chippewa Falls (WQOW) – An Eau Claire volunteer was looking for a way to give back to veterans after her son enlisted. Now, you will find Debbie Kacvinsky at the Chippewa Veteran’s Home every week sharing her time and talents.
That is why Kacvinsky is this month’s Jefferson Award winner.
A game of cards and a few laughs. It may seem like Kacvinsky is spending time with a friend. That’s because she is.
“I feel like this is my place for going to have fun,” she said. “I get back so much more than I give.”
Kacvinsky always had a volunteer’s heart. She has lent her time to organizations around the area for years.
“I’ve always had an appreciation for the military,” she told News 18.
When her son joined the Marines, she wanted to find a new avenue to give back.
“I started looking at other places that I could give back to the veterans who have sacrificed their families and themselves for the freedom we get,” Kacvinsky said.
She was one of the very first volunteers at the Chippewa Falls Veterans Home when it opened in 2013. Since then, she rarely misses a date with her friends.
“She really gets to know them and gets them little gifts around the holidays or their birthdays. It’s just the little special touches that she brings to the veteran’s home that makes her special and makes her shine,” said Katie Plendl, director of admissions at Wisconsin Veteran’s Home at Chippewa Falls.
“She makes blankets for everyone with insignias of each service,” said resident Marion Frank.
Marion Frank nominated Kacvinsky for the Jefferson Award. She said Kacvinsky is always the first to volunteer for outings, for a game or simply a conversation.
“She’s a lot of fun, we have a lot of good laughs,” Frank said. “She’s a wonderful person.”
In her five years at the veteran’s home, Kacvinsky has logged nearly 1,000 volunteer hours. Sometimes, needing a reminder it is time to leave.
“To her it’s not hours,” Plendl said. “To her, it’s really coming to see family and coming to see friends.”
She has spent so much time that she earned the home’s volunteer of the year in 2017. Even now, she is embarrassed to be recognized for something that does not seem like work at all.
“They make you feel so welcome,” Kacvinsky said. “They appreciate it so much. It gives you such a warm feeling. I come out of here feeling on top of the world.”
Just this week, Kacvinsky is retiring from her job at Xcel Energy. Now, she said she plans to spend even more time at the veteran’s home.
If you know a volunteer in our area making a difference, click here to nominate them for a Jefferson Award.