Unsung Heroes
Deb Hren
by Laura Haley
Contributing Writer
Mar 20, 2014 | 1779 views | 0 0 comments | 535 535 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When Debra Hren left Moab for college, she left with a scholarship to play volleyball in college. That opportunity ultimately paid for her education.

“Kendra Tomsic paved the way for me to play collegiate volleyball,” Hren said of her high school volleyball coach. “I wanted to start giving back to the community that had given so much to me.”

After graduating from college, Hren returned to Moab. Tomsic had moved on to coach at another school, so Hren stepped up as the coach of the Grand County High School volleyball program. The next year, she started the Moab City Recreation volleyball programs.

“I’m back coaching at the high school,” she said. “But I still kind of oversee those.”

Hren has also volunteered time to teach volleyball to local 4-H members.

“I just kind of do whatever it is that comes up,” she said.

When her youngest child started school, Hren wanted to be there to help as much as she could. For the last 14 years, she’s been a constant presence at the elementary school.

“I’ll do whatever the teachers throw at me,” she said. “I’ll grade papers, work with a student who is struggling ... I don’t care.”

Moab resident Angela Book said that Hren has been tutoring her daughter and has been a huge help.

“She’s amazing,” Book said. “She picks her up from school and drops her off at home.”

Over the years, Hren has served in a number of different capacities at the schools. In addition to volunteering in the classrooms, she also has spent time as the crossing guard at the former Red Rock Elementary School, and she started an afterschool program for kids before the BEACON program was launched in Moab.

“When someone puts a bug in my ear, I go for it,” Hren said.

That’s exactly how, in 2004, Hren was elected to the Grand County Board of Education.

“I was at the park one day with a moms group, and one of my friends said I should run,” she said. “I said, ‘That sounds interesting.’”

Hren was elected, and ended up serving on the board for 10 years.

“I love numbers and budgets, so that’s what I really enjoyed,” she said.

Although her college degree is in education, Hren began her college career as an accounting major. She said she only left the field because she knew she wanted to raise a family. That background in accounting helped her understand the financial crisis that hit the school district in 2009, she said.

“A lot of the things I do, I don’t think of as volunteering,” Hren said. “I’m just trying to stay involved.”

These days, Hren is busier than ever.

Between running the Rock Tots preschool, coaching volleyball, and raising five children, she said she’s had to step back from some of the projects and programs in which she used to be involved.

“Someone told me once that as your kids get older, they need you more,” she said. “I thought they were crazy, but it’s true.”

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