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Spotlight on Heidi Hora: Rolling up her sleeves to help her community

Family poses for a photo.
The Hora family from Marion, Iowa, volunteer together to serve their community.

Thrivent client strives to instill a love of volunteering, stewardship in her children.

For Heidi Hora, volunteering comes as naturally as breathing. “We’ve always been fortunate to have the things we need, and I know many others don’t,” says Hora, a Thrivent client from Marion, Iowa.

So when a derecho wind storm slammed several counties in Iowa in August 2020, Hora and her family—husband Jeremy and children Carson, 16, and Madison, 14—immediately went into action.

Their church, St. Mark’s Lutheran, hosted Eight Days of Hope, a Christian nonprofit organization that helps communities rebuild after a disaster. Heidi and Jeremy were eligible for four Thrivent Action Teams, Hora said, and they led all of them that year to support the work of Eight Days of Hope.

“Madison and I helped make lunches for those doing cleanup,” Hora says. “Jeremy and I led an effort to help buy tools, such as rakes and chainsaws, that the group needed. Carson got to know a man who ran an equipment truck and learned a lot about tools. It was neat to watch these older volunteers teaching the kids. These are memories the kids are going to have forever.”

The Horas also led a team to cook a traditional Iowa meal for volunteers, including sweet corn, brats, hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad and desserts. In addition to leading Thrivent Action Teams, they helped fill what Hora calls a random need—providing ice to those without power, especially those who needed to keep medicine cool.

Hora is a development director for the American Heart Association, leading the organization’s core fundraising events: Go Red for Women, STEM Goes Red and Heart Ball. Stem Goes Red exposes young women to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“Volunteering starts at home,” Hora says. “Our children are learning how to roll up their sleeves and help people. While I don’t expect them to be straight-A students, I do expect them to be good people.”

How did you first learn about Thrivent?

I remember the financial representative coming to our house when I was a kid. My dad made sure we had life insurance. I bought my first policy in my early 20s. Today, both of my kids have some coverage, but because of health issues, I couldn’t buy them what I wanted. Now I know why my dad purchased life insurance early.

What’s your first memory of money?

We grew up in a small town. I remember the flavored Tootsie Rolls we could get at the drug store; they were a penny a piece. We’d take our change and come out with a big bag of candy.

What are your guiding principles around money decisions?

Jeremy and I talk about how we spend our money and how we’re going to meet our next goal. We meet with our financial professional and get guidance on where to shift when needed. We’re also trying to help set our kids up for success. Carson has a job, and he saved to put the first $2,000 down on a vehicle. His grandparents gave him an interest-free loan. We have an agreement on how he can continue to save, afford the vehicle and start to invest in a Roth IRA. Madison babysits and knows what expenses she needs to save for. She’s becoming a thrifty shopper like her mom. We want to help them understand money and make decisions while they’re still home and we can guide them.

What’s the best piece of financial advice you’ve ever received?

The one I wish I would have listened to better: Invest at an early age and live within your means. Max out what your employer will match in an employer-sponsored retirement investment. Also, decide where you want to spend your money. We want to travel as a family and make memories. So we’ll ask the kids: Do you want a party for your birthday or an experience? Now my son will ask me if I need that coffee or if I should save it for vacation.

How do you demonstrate gratitude?

With my actions and my words. I always say actions are stronger than words.

What does it mean to thrive with purpose?

For me, it’s really raising our two children to continue what I’ve started: giving, helping others, being connected to others, and teaching others how they can do it, too.

The client’s experience may or may not be the same as other clients and does not indicate future performance or success.

Member benefits, programs and activities are not guaranteed contractual benefits. You should never purchase or retain any insurance or annuity products simply to be able to participate. Participation is subject to applicable Terms and Conditions.