Rays of Light: Deb Lamp

Hometown(s): Waterloo/Davenport, IA

Current Location: Davenport, IA

Current Role: Nurse

Nominated By: Steven Lamp & Ben Bruster

Reason for Nomination: I am writing this nomination with the help of Steven Lamp, Deb’s son. A few weeks ago, I reached out to Steven, inquiring if he would be interested in nominating his mother to be featured in my blog. Quickly and emphatically, he responded yes. “I want to show the world how awesome [my mom] really is!!” he proudly stated.

Steve, please know that I write these words for you as much I do for your mom. I hope to make you proud…

Let me first be transparent: Deb is not someone who I have spent a great deal of time with. Rather, Deb and I have gotten to know each other over the years—by running into one another at church functions, saying hello here and there, and through exchanging life updates while enjoying after-church donuts. However, through these passing moments, I have learned all I’ve needed to about Deb Lamp’s character.

To start, she is fiercely loyal and driven to serve others. In addition to faith, family means everything to her. Time and again, Deb has doubled down, grabbed her loved ones’ hands, and faced some pretty harrowing storms—all to pass through the eye of the hurricane, tougher, wiser, and more grateful for life. In this way, Deb runs passionately towards situations other would fearfully run from. And she does this not only as a nurse, but as a mother and as humanitarian who deeply cares about her fellow brothers and sisters whom she loves unconditionally.

Right to left: Deb’s family members–her grandchildren, Trevor and Tyler; her husband, Glen; and son, Steven. PC: DL

Deb is plainspoken and humble. Her words do not carry pretense or pomp. She opens up conversations with her honest eyes and caring demeanor, assuring those talking that they will be earnestly listened to and respected. Deb also has a quiet and subtle way of allowing others to know that they are safe in her presence: all will be well, at least if she has anything to say about.

So far, my descriptions of Deb might sound overly flowery and romanticized, but I promise you they are not! In fact, I know that Deb is the type of person everyone must meet in order to fully appreciate. Some people have a glowing aura about them, a light that others are drawn too. And truly, Deb has this light.

All to say, I write this blog for people exactly like Deb—people who live their days with courage, kindness, generosity, and aplomb, as they face challenging situations, solve problems, and keep our world glued together. Often, people like Deb do not receive proper recognition, either. Deb, you are a “Ray of Light,” and I am so excited to share a small piece of you with others.

A Short Bio.

A lifelong Iowan, Deb Lamp was born in Waterloo, IA in the 1950s. Her parents were college sweethearts who raised five children together. The middle child, Deb quickly learned the meaning and importance of ‘thick skin’ and resilience. “I am the middle child of 5…so, yes, I got picked on a lot,” she remembers.

Early on, Deb learned the importance on resilience in much bigger ways, however. Her father, the family’s breadwinner, suffered a serious back injury during her childhood. The injury seemed so severe that, even after surgery, doctors only gave her dad a 20 percent chance to walk again. Consequently, over the following months and years, Deb, Deb’s mom, and Deb’s siblings learned to fill the void caused by his ailment. “During his long recovery, my mom learned to drive and got a job,” she reflects.  Thankfully, despite all of this, her father not only learned to walk again, but he also returned to work. “Prayer works,” Deb reminds me.

Following her father’s recovery, Deb’s family moved downstate to Davenport, to where her father’s job had been transferred. There, Deb continued her active participation in Sunday school and in youth group. My family went to church every Sunday, she says.

A beautiful aerial shot of Davenport, IA. PC: Travel Awaits

After graduating from high school in Davenport, Deb continued her education close to home. Studying nursing at the nearby Marycrest University, Deb knew she was pursuing something she truly loved. “The love of nursing was planted in me. Being a nurse is all I ever wanted to be,” she proudly remarks. “My favorite cousin went to nursing school at a hospital close by our home, and she spent much time at our home,” leaving a lasting influence on me. So, become a nurse Deb did.

Over her long career, Deb has practiced as a nurse at hospitals and nursing homes, where she currently works. Today, she is “still working out of choice.” Reflecting on this, she writes, “I love my job and my patients. I work part-time and love it.” For Deb, nursing continues to allow her to exercise her big, beautiful heart. After all, caring for others is her specialty!

Today, Deb has come a long way since her “candy-striped” nursing days, but her primary passions and driving forces have remained constant: faith, family, and service. In times of rough waters and in times of gentle seas, Deb keeps laughing, smiling, hoping, and praying. She is a proud mother and grandmother, too.

Q & A: The [Not So] Serious

BB: Deb, over the course of your life, you have overcome some pretty incredible challenges and barriers. What has guided you through some of your most challenging moments?

DL: Well to overcome, I believe we can overcome anything if we have Christ with us. So, I think I would talk about faith.  If one doesn’t believe, then I would talk about having faith in self and doing the best we can. Then not to second guess ourselves. 

My faith has guided me through the difficult times in my life. I believe in prayer and God. My favorite verse is Phil 4:13. “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” 

I was confirmed in the Lutheran Church, and at the time I truly felt the Holy Spirit come to me. I lead my life for God. 

Deb is a passionate Christian. Above, a cross hangs on her wall at home. PC: DL

BB: What advice would you give to anyone who is currently trying to overcome adversity, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic?

DL: The virus is a very serious thing, and people need to take it seriously. It is kinda like the plagues in past years. Maybe we, as people, on this earth have gotten to selfish. We need to be more kind to each other and ourselves.  Pay heed and do what is right to God and each other.  

***

BB: If you could time travel, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

DL: I would tell the younger me that there will be many difficult times and to do what our gut and God tells us.  Not to worry what others think.   

***

BB: Imagine you have just finished a long shift at the nursing home, and you’re off the next day. How would you like to unwind and spend your night?

DL: I enjoy family and friends and quiet time. It is always nice to relax with my dogs and a good book. After a tough day I enjoy coming home and having a glass of wine and cuddle with my dogs. 

***

BB: If a stranger gave you $1 million to use however you wanted, how would you spend your money?

DL: Wow. 1 million dollars. I think I would give a nice gift to the church and pay bills off, then maybe save the rest. 

***

BB: As a longtime Quad Citian, what are your favorite QC foods?

DL: I like pizza and Mexican foods and, of course, sweets

***

BB: Imagine you could perform as a back-up singer or dancer for your favorite musical or group (past or present) on their upcoming tour. Who are you performing with? Why?

DL: I would be backup singer for Tim McGraw or Carrie Underwood.

***

Carrie Underwood. PC: The Official Carrie Underwood

BB: What does a “typical” day at work look like for you?

DL: A typical day for me is talking to my patients. I want them to know they are important. I help feed those that need help and pass to many pills. 

***

BB: Tell about a recent moment when you felt proud to be you. Why do you think you felt this way? And what does this moment say about you?

DL: Being with a patient who is very ill and dying, the one who has no family with them at this time. To be with them and pray over them, let them know it is ok to let go. Many medical professionals have issues with being with the dying, but I am okay with this. It is a beautiful thing to let them know it is okay to let go. God loves them. 

Author’s Note: All responses are found as they were written, except in the few cases when subtle rewriting improved narrative flow. Deb has also approved this blog and its content.

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