Reardon honored by Iowa Caregivers

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Deb Reardon was awarded the Margaret Swanson Legacy in Giving award for her 43 years of dedicated service with the Clayton County Visiting Nurse Association. (Photo submitted)

By Caroline Rosacker

In early October, Deb Reardon of Guttenberg was recognized for her long-standing career in caregiving by Iowa CareGivers with the Margaret Swanson Legacy in Giving award.

For the past 43 years,  Reardon, a Home Health Aide at the Clayton County Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) office in Elkader, has been changing lives – one person at a time. 

Deb became interested in caregiving in high school. "The school offered a class to become a nurses aide," she recalled. "I needed a class to fill out my schedule and I decided I really liked it,"  she said.Deb was employed as a nurses aide at the Prairie du Chien nursing home for 14 years prior to her career with the VNA. 

"Deb’s deep commitment to the VNA and the patients she serves is truly unmatched," said Brittany Hubanks, VNA Manager. "She consistently strives to ensure that all individuals feel cared for, supported and empowered. On top of her deep commitment to providing care and advocating for her patients, one of Deb’s greatest strengths is her ability to build relationships with every individual she cares for. The VNA and UnityPoint Health are incredibly lucky to have Deb, and we could not be prouder of her for this incredible recognition and accomplishment."

In her own words, Deb shared, "The best part is meeting all the new people and the stories they share about how things used to be. They love to talk about the dances they went to and their lifestyle and what it was like without television," she said with a smile. "I have worked for  many World War II veterans. I wish I would have wrote down some of their stories."

Deb assists others in their home with light cleaning, shopping, laundry, and other activities of daily living. "Most of my clients have family member that stop in and visit," she noted. "It makes me feel good that when they do, the work is done and they can sit down with their loved one and spend quality time visiting."

The award, named in memory of the late Margaret Swanson, a long-time Iowa CareGivers volunteer board member and supporter, is held in high esteem by the Iowa CareGivers. Margaret understood what an important role direct care workers play after witnessing the care they provided her daughter, Chris, who was in a coma and later died following a serious car crash. Margaret was a great advocate for those who work in direct care, and in her will directed funds to establish the Margaret Swanson Iowa CareGivers Endowment at the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines.

"This Legacy in Giving Award is important," said Maribel Slinde, Iowa CareGivers Board of Directors Chair. "It counters the belief by some that direct care isn’t a profession that anyone would choose as a career. She has devoted 43 years to her profession and has touched the lives of thousands of Iowans."

Deb added, "To me it's so rewarding to help people. Knowing that you are making a difference in their lives, and that they need your help," she commented. "They may have been a farmer or a homemaker and they can no longer do those things." 

Deb enjoys attending the yearly convention in Des Moines and pays for the opportunity out of her own pocket. "I meet so many different people and I enjoy the educational breakout sessions, the vendor fair and updates from the State Legislature concerning Medicare regulations," she explained.

The Iowa CareGivers is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that exists to ensure that Iowans receive good care and support when they need it. It works toward that mission by serving the needs of those who provide most of that care and support – the direct care workforce and family caregivers. To learn more about Iowa CareGivers, please visit

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