Deb Tancsa has been nominated to receive an International Women’s Day award due to her community spirit, which lead her to organize car parades at the height of the pandemic.
With birthday parties and special get togethers postponed due to COVID, Tancsa recognized that there would be many disappointed children. She decided that the solution would be a celebration that would be safe and maintain social distance. Having heard about ‘Party Parades’ happening in other cities, Tancsa thought it would be fitting to bring them to Merritt.
That she is now receiving an award for her kindness caught her off guard.
“It felt really good, but I was quite surprised,” she said, regarding her nomination.
“It was so much fun, the best part is just watching the kids and how happy they were, but we didn’t limit it to kids after a while, we did a lot of other ones too.”
This included a Christmas parade that Tancsa hoped would soften the blow that came with the cancellation of the beloved Country Christmas Parade.
“The Christmas parade was great,” said Tancsa, who credits the success as much to the participants as herself.
“We had I think 40 or so vehicles, everybody decorated and lit it up. There were lots of families outside of their homes watching, it was very cool. I think we might even make it an annual thing.”
Although Tancsa became known for her ‘Party Parades’, she serves the community in other ways as well, including as a firefighter with the Merritt Fire and Rescue Department (MFRD).
“I love it,” Tancsa said.
“I think we have 8 or 9 ladies at the hall now. It’s pretty great.”
When asked if she would recommend firefighting to other women she agreed wholeheartedly.
“Absolutely. It’s a great hall to be in, a great family to be a part of. I think that we’re quite involved with the community, too.”
Tancsa’s other accomplishments include being a proud mother, raising her grandson and pursuing her education as an adult.
“I also raise my grandson who is on the spectrum and diabetic, so that definitely has been a big success in my home,” Tancsa said proudly.
“He’s an amazing kid. I also went back to school and I’m now an EA in the school district. That was a big thing because I was almost 50 when I went back to school. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. I’m at SCIDES this year so it’s a little bit different, it’s distance learning, but I do get to work one on one with a lot of kids.”
Her advice for other women is simple.
“Don’t limit yourself,” Tancsa said.
“Anything that you want to do you’re absolutely capable of doing it. A little bit of hard work will get you far, and just believing in yourself.”
About the award, Tancsa remains humble, noting that she doesn’t like to talk about herself.
“I just do what I do because I enjoy it, and I like being part of the community,” explained Tancsa.
“I love the people here and I just think that it’s all about being kind. Kindness will get you very far.”
Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald