Springfield native and Jay Key Service Inc. co-owner Debbie Jay Reichert has many passions, and all of them seem to revolve around service to others.
Reichert has been a supporter and fundraiser for the American Cancer Society for the last 18 years and has helped organize teams for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Relay for Life and the Cattle Baron’s Ball. She’s even broadened her fight against cancer by helping to put on ACS galas in other towns, including Poplar Bluff and Cape Girardeau.
She’s also a supporter of Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks. Beating that disease in particular has become important for her.
“I was diagnosed last year with breast cancer,” Reichert says. “Good thing I’ve supported (the fight against cancer) all these years!”
Even after a breast cancer diagnosis, Reichert has stayed active in helping others. For the last two years, she’s ridden in the MS 150, and she’s been active in recovery efforts following the May 22 tornado in Joplin.
“I go to Joplin at least once a week and sometimes more depending on when I don’t have to be at work,” Reichert says. “ With a lot of support and help from many people, I have been able to help this devastated town,” Reichert says.
As time has passed since the tornado, Reichert has maintained her commitment to helping those touched by the tornado’s devastation.
“The first two weeks everyone wants to help and give,” Reichert says. “As the weeks go by, people tend to forget. I can’t – or won’t – forget.”
Reichert says one of her strengths is the ability to rally people and support for others in need.
“People just seem to want to help – that’s where I come in. I will organize and do the footwork if people are willing to give,” Reichert says. “They seem to want to give to me freely.”
Reichert’s flexible schedule has allowed her to grow her service to ACS in the past year to serve as a subject for “Portrait of Hope,” sharing her story with others and increasing the volunteer base fighting breast cancer in the region.
Bridgett Myers, regional vice president of the ACS, calls Reichert one of the most dedicated philanthropists she’s worked with in her 15 years with the organization.
“There is no individual who better embodies the mission of the American Cancer Society,” Myers says. “My definition of influence is the natural ability to change attitude and behavior in a favorable way to truly make a difference in the community in which we live. In my opinion, and the opinion of countless others, Debbie is that influence in our community.”Click here for full coverage of the 2011 Most Influential Women.