ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Debbie Walter works as president of a locally owned landscaping business. It’s a demanding job, but she still finds time to make life better for others.

She is one of our local finalists for Nexstar’s nationwide 2021 Woman of the Year award. Her generosity and volunteer work make Debbie Walter remarkable.

“Give if you can and volunteer as much as possible,” said Walter.

Those are words Debbie Walter lives by. The busy mother of three works full time as president of Lawn Care By Walter. She believes when it comes to volunteering, you just make the time.

“When I was growing up my mom and dad always taught me that you need to always put people before yourself. Always help out as much as you can. So I’ve tried to do that,” she explained.

Tried and succeeded. Rockford Rescue Mission is one of the many organizations where Debbie volunteers her time.

“When you volunteer at the Rescue Mission you see how difficult some of these people have had it in their lives. And if you can turn one person around and make them a better person that’s just a win-win for everybody.”

Debbie is a big supporter of Special Olympics and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. And there’s one organization whose mission hits close to home.

“I have a son that’s autistic and Easter Seals was a big supporter to help me know how to deal with my son that was autistic,” Walter said.

Debbie appreciates the support her family received from Easter Seals. That’s why Debbie says she’s happy to give back her time and resources, along with her heart.

“I’ve seen her wrapping her arms around other moms who have walked through the journey and just giving that time and understanding,” said Lori Davie, the program manager for Easter Seals. “To help people know that having an autism diagnosis is just a very small part of our kids.”

Whether the program needs funding or supplies, Debbie is always there to help make it happen.

“Many times our program would have closed without her support. Financial support and connections and partnering with the Ice Hogs and everything that she does,” Davie added.

“I just feel that if you can give back to the community, that’s what you need to do because there are so many people in our community that need the help and the support,” Walter concluded.

Debbie is one of 4 finalists in our Remarkable Women contest. The local winner will be announced April 1st.