Being raised in a family of thirteen children was more of a blessing than a burden. I’m sure we complained about not having as much as other kids but as I look back—all I remember is a lot of love and a lot of people! My parents were perfect examples of helping others. My oldest brother Tony was a volunteer extraordinaire. As a kid I assisted him with clothing drives, collecting food, and cleaning yards for the less fortunate. We did whatever was needed. It was never a chore; just a part of life. As teenagers, another older brother, Joe and I raised money for the Catholic Diocese of Nashville to support a medical and missionary trip to Haiti to help build a school and assist at a medical clinic. Joe and I, along with 30 other teenagers, enjoyed two summer trips to Haiti.
With twelve siblings, I can’t keep up with the enormous volunteer work each has given and continues to provide for worthwhile nonprofits in Tennessee and beyond. My husband, Jim, and I are strong supporters of our church, plus many nonprofits in Davidson and Wilson County.
The world, as you and I know it, could not operate without all the amazing individuals who volunteer their time, creativity, and financial support to worthwhile religious, service, and social organizations. My business was born from my volunteer work. While coordinating fundraisers for nonprofits, I assisted with the first Habitat for Humanity Women-Build in Nashville. I began doing “public relations” work before I knew what it was called. Enjoying this work so much, I left the company and started my own firm Varallo Public Relations.
With a talented staff, we provide assistance to nonprofits while also building a profitable business dedicated to the professional service industry. My sweet brother, Joe, who I admired tremendously because of his giving heart, was so dedicated to helping nonprofits. He was also an alcoholic and fought the battle most of his adult life. He eventually lost his job and his home. As much as we tried to help, Joe didn’t want our support. Fortunately Nashville Rescue Mission was there to help him. During the time Joe was at the Mission, we knew he was safe, had a warm bed, hot meals, and spiritual support. With their assistance, and by selling
The Contributor newspapers, Joe was able to afford a small place to live on his own. Joe didn’t win his battle with alcoholism, as he died in October 2014—but my siblings and I appreciate the fact that the Mission was there to help him when he needed it the most. Many worthwhile organizations need help, so I am very selective in the nonprofits I support. I chose to support the Mission because of how they helped my brother during a very fragile time in his life. I also support them because of the care, love, and support they provide to all who need help.
One day while at the Mission, a family arrived from Texas to see their son who they hadn’t seen in a year. We cried together as I explained to them he was in good hands. I cried privately, with appreciation, as I understood the kindness and discipline their son was receiving. He is most definitely in good hands.
A native Tennessean, Deb graduated from Baylor University in Texas. In 1991, she established her firm Varallo Public Relations in Nashville and works with various nonprofits, organizations, businesses, associations, and firms. She has been featured in the national press discussing her expertise; and her firm has won numerous trade honors.