Sticking Up for Others From an Early Age

By Robbin D’elene

• Trained for three and a half months to walk two half-marathon races
• Has lived in Wisconsin her whole life and has never seen a tornado, rattlesnake or a bear
• Deb’s family project including her twin daughters, son and husband has been to care for the Shanks Cemetery
Photo courtesy of Deb Harvey

I met with Deb Harvey in her Retirement Specialists office in Prairie du Sac before the COVID-19 pandemic began. She shared many experiences of her childhood years growing up on the family Black Angus farm. She talked about painting the white fences every summer, playing cards with her brother Steve and filling in for missing players in the older folks euchre and sheepshead card games.  The most interesting story, however, was about an incident in her fifth-grade class.  

It was her teacher’s habit to ask every class to read “Rikky Tikky Tavi,” a short story set in India written by Rudyard Kipling in 1894. This is an account of a mongoose who has the job of protecting his British family from cobras living in the area surrounding their new jungle compound. 

The mongoose, Rikky Tikky Tavi, is particularly well suited for the job and is able to easily dispatch the local cobra family: mother, father and all their eggs. In the story the mongoose saves the day and the family is safe. What is interesting in this account is the fact that in all the years Deb’s teacher had assigned this story, Deb was the only student who stuck up for the snakes. She saw the story from the snakes’ point of view. The mama and papa were only attempting to protect their home and eggs from outside threat that had invaded their home area.  

At this young age Deb was already advocating for those she perceived needed help. It is easy to see her in that same role as an adult and history has proven it to be true. For 25 years Deb acted as a legal advocate and benefit specialist for the Sauk County Aging and Disability Resource Center. Her job was to represent and argue on the behalf of people in insurance settlement cases.

In this position she learned a lot about the entire insurance industry and also the benefits offered by the government. This information and experience is invaluable in her current work with Retirement Specialists, where she professes life is never boring. She travels all over southern Sauk County helping retirement-age folks find insurance healthcare solutions.

When Deb isn’t helping others she enjoys planning and playing in euchre tournaments or volunteering for some worthy cause. But most importantly, she enjoys life at home on the Wisconsin River with Buck, the love of her life, and her sweet little Sheltie named Phoebe. Deb has a lot to smile about, and indeed she does. 

Robbin D’elene

Robbin D’elene is a freelance writer who has been published in a number of regional periodicals and Internet newsletters. She lives at Crag Moor Farm west of Plain, where she is co-founder of a developing regenerative farm and learning center. She is also the owner of Finest Skincare  in Spring Green. She may be contacted at (608) 514-9475 (home) or (608) 588-6011 (cell).