After eight years at Janus Developmental Services and a career in the nonprofit field, Noblesville resident Debbie Laird will retire May 22 from her position of senior vice president of development.
Janus, 1555 Westfield Rd., Noblesville, provides individuals with disabilities opportunities to participate and contribute within the community through day services and programs. The organization serves clients throughout Hamilton County.
Laird’s proudest moments include bringing awareness to individuals with disabilities making a positive impact.
“Every person has different abilities, and I think part of the thing I’m most proud of is our community realizing that people who have diagnosed disabilities can also do many positive things,” Laird said. “Through the community lunches once a month where people come to Janus to tour the facility, receive an overview of all our programs and services and enjoy a lunch prepared by clients and served by clients – these are clients interested in a catering position or working in a restaurant – and that’s just a firsthand view of somebody with a disability who excels.”
Laird also is pleased that Janus has a higher profile in the community.
“One other thing I’m really proud of, too, is just the fact that when I say I work at Janus, people understand what Janus is,” Laird said. “When I first started here, the first question I’d have was, ‘Janus? What does Janus do?’ We have worked very hard to increase name awareness of what Janus is and what we are able to do.
“Now, I don’t get that question anymore.”
In retirement, Laird plans to travel more with her husband, Mike, who is already retired. She also plans to increase her volunteer work with the Westfield Youth Assistance Program.
“I’m a mentor for them and I want to have an increased number of hours there,” she said. “I also want to do more in my church, Northview.”
Laird plans to participate more in the foundation she and Mike manage – the Jake Laird Memorial Fund. It was created in 2004 in memory of their son, Jake Laird, who was an Indianapolis Police Dept. officer killed in the line of duty. The foundation provides funds to police and fire departments for new equipment, new instructional programs or financial assistance to those injured in the line of duty.
Laird also will continue her hobbies of bicycling, gardening and walking trails.
“I think the best part of retirement, or what I can imagine of retirement, is the freedom to just go do whatever when I want to,” she said.