Heather Reuscher, Evergreen Life Services
Nancy Giles was introduced to the business side of non-profits in 2008. She realized as she went on to work at Evergreen Life Services (ELS) in 2013 that it took her back to her first career in public service as a deputy sheriff.
Nancy’s dream was to see people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and veterans with disabilities all working together with understanding while sharing their stories and challenges. She ensured that was the path for Florida before her retirement at the beginning of 2020.
After 7 years bringing HEAVENDROPt, a program under ELS, to life she wanted to “repurpose” and write a book she had talked about forever. In 2020, she wrote and published The Accidental Deputy, which shares the true story of her being a woman deputy sheriff in 1965.
Prior to her departure, she found the perfect person to carry HEAVENDROPt forward in Robby Groover, a Purple Heart Veteran. In addition, she introduced Charley Ball, who had experience with starting up and licensing agencies with the State of Florida to ELS. With the new team in place, Florida was on its way to becoming the 7th state to add the services of Evergreen Life Services and to fulfill Nancy’s dream of veterans with disabilities working with individuals with disabilities. Today, Evergreen Life Services and HEAVENDROPt successfully operate and offer life skills training and employment opportunities through the upcycling of retired US Military parachutes.
When 2020 became such a difficult year, Nancy found herself isolated at home. She always said that her passion and heart would be forever with ELS and HEAVENDROPt and the new team reached out to her frequently for help. Naturally she was asked to serve as a volunteer on the Development Committee formed for the Florida Division to help spread the mission, grow and develop the program and help in raising much-needed funds to sustain through some of the most difficult times. She says, volunteering for events and helping secure sponsorships is a pleasure and helps her to stay connected to ELS.
Nancy has been a member of 100 Women Who Care in Pinellas County for over 5 years. This wonderful organization has no overhead costs and operates entirely as a volunteer nonprofit. The principle is 100 women give $100 four times a year. That means that four times a year a selected nonprofit in Pinellas County gets $10K. They have also partnered for a matching gift of an additional $5K. That amounts to over $300,000 that has been donated to more than 20 local nonprofits since she has volunteered with them! She loves that she is able to learn about and give back to all different organizations in the community.
Additionally, for over 12 years she has volunteered as an Advisory Council Member for Area Agency on Aging Pasco-Pinellas AAAPP. Nancy was also the Board Chair of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce in 2013. She has been a finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal awards twice in the past. She has loved helping agencies especially during a very difficult time for them in 2020. She is now excited to be able to donate her book, a meal, conversation and a signing to several agencies for silent auctions. And of course, continue to help ELS in any way they request.
We at ELS are thrilled to have such an amazing volunteer, friend and expert to help us succeed in this journey to bring more opportunities, resources and jobs to those underserved in the community and most of all to fulfill their hopes and dreams.