My name is Debra McGhan. I was born in June 1954 in Anchorage, Alaska to Scott and Maxine McDaniel. I was raised by my stay-at-home mom and beautician / artist father. I am the 3rd of five children in my family and we enjoyed a wonderful life growing up hunting, fishing, camping and exploring Alaska so Dad could photograph and paint the incredible vistas. I learned to appreciate the beauty around me and the joy of sharing and supporting my community and neighbors.
In 1973, I married my best friend and high school sweetheart Bruce McGhan. We shared a wonderful life and had two beautiful, amazing children, Allen and Michelle.
In 1982 I started a gymnastics training program through the Mat-Su Valley community schools and in 1984, had grown the program to over 100 children and realized, these kids needed a real gym. With the love and support of my husband, Bruce, we started a junior Olympic gymnastics academy. But then in November 1986, Bruce was killed in a tragic accident and I lost the love and spirit I had for the gym and handed it over to my best friends Sandy and Lynn Reynolds. The gym is still thriving today under their skilled management and the new name, Denali Gymnastics and Cross fit.
After Bruce was killed, I returned to college in pursuit of my journalism degree and focused on my writing career. I remarried my good friend Mike Herdina a few years later but that proved to be a mistake. My children felt used and abused and begged me to leave. It wasn’t until they had graduated and left home that I saw the truth of the situation and realized I needed to escape. In 2004 I made it official and divorced setting out on my own.
I purchased a 23 foot Phoenix Cruiser and headed out from Florida on my first solo adventure. It was a fun, wonderful experience, although lonely at times, but then I learned my mother was sick with cancer and not expected to live long. I flew home immediately and spent the last 11 days of her life sitting by her side.
After her passing, I took care of Dad and continued to spend time in the continental US exploring and enjoying time in my motor home. Until the day came when I realized no matter how much I loved that little motorhome, I couldn’t afford to keep it any longer. With a heavy heart I sold it to Mr. Tom LaClair. And that is where the next chapter of my life begins.