For Patricia Ireland, life has been about finding ways to share knowledge and truth. Born and raised in Porter County, she has called Portage home for more than 35 years.
“I like the stores and restaurants that we have. I don’t have to go far. I don’t have to go all the way to Valparaiso or Merrillville,” Ireland said. “Plus I love my neighborhood.”
Ireland spent most of her childhood in Chesterton and fondly remembers spending time walking and wandering all over the small town. After graduating from Chesterton High School, Ireland went to Chattanooga Tennessee to attend Tennessee Temple University, graduating with a certification in Missions.
Facing her fears, Ireland boarded a plane to Europe where she spent a year serving with Operation Mobilization through France and Belgium. She looks back on her time there with fond memories. Despite not yet being able to return to France, she still takes time to practice her French.
Ireland returned home and took a job at a local microfiche lab while she waited to see what door opened next. During that time she met her husband and settled down into marriage and, eventually, motherhood.
As a young mother, Ireland found a mentor and friend in an older woman from her church community. She credits this friendship with helping her to handle the challenges that come with life as a wife and mother.
With a passion for sharing the truth, Ireland began teaching preschool at Hobart Baptist School in the early ‘80s. After seven years another change was necessary and Ireland went to work for herself. After thirteen years of self-employment, Ireland found herself back in teaching.
“I love to know something and to give it somebody else,” said Ireland.
For decades, Ireland has been a member of her local church and served with the children there. She has enjoyed many years of being a Sunday school teacher, a nursery worker and loves to give back to the community in these ways. She works as a child-care worker so that young Moms can attend Bible Study and Mother’s of pre-schoolers. Remembering her days as a young mom, she knows it’s important to have those opportunities to come together with other moms for support and mentoring.
“I care about people. I care about what happens in other people’s lives. This is my way of giving back. If it wasn’t for people’s help in my life, I don’t know where I would be. It’s a way of serving my God, my Church, and my community,” said Ireland.
Now retired, you will most likely find Ireland working in her home or garden. She enjoys reading her newspapers and catching up on local news while her two dogs snuggle up to her. An avid bird-watcher, she enjoys watching for new types of birds that may visit her feeders, staying active with puzzles and word searches.