FOR Families Specialist
Debbie Brunn has been a FOR Families Specialist for the City of Irvine for 5 ½ years. Debbie’s family – dad, mom, Debbie and her sister – moved here in May 1971. Her brother was born here. The family bought a brand new, 4-bedroom home in the Willows for $26,000. Later, the family moved to the Village of Northwood. Debbie attended El Camino Real Elementary School. Debbie’s family, including her parents, her husband David, and their daughter represent three generations of Irvine residents.
Q: What are your fondest memories of growing up in Irvine?
A: It is our ice cream shop. My parents would pick us up after school, take us to the shop and we would help them by dipping the cones in sprinkles and handing them to the customers. That was my first interaction in dealing with the public. The ice cream and sandwich shop, in the University Park Shopping Center, was called McNulty’s. My favorite flavor was double-chocolate.
Q: What is your earliest memory of Irvine?
A: It has to be Lion Country Safari, when the ostriches would peck at your car window and chase after you.
Q: What did you find dynamic about the City then, and what is dynamic about the City today?
A: All the neighborhood kids would play in the street until dark. Also, we would go to El Toro for the air shows and I remember the Blue Angels flying right over our heads. What’s amazing to me today is that Irvine it is still very attractive; and in many ways, more beautiful with the parks and landscape.
Q: What has been the biggest change in Irvine?
A: Th e population and the diversity, of course. That stands out the most.
Q: The City of Irvine is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year. What does the anniversary
mean to you?
A: It has really generated a lot of fond childhood memories.
Q: When you explain Irvine to others who don’t live here, how do you explain the community?
A: Th e parks stand out; the school district is phenomenal. It is a safe community. I like the thought that I can take my
daughter to any part of the City and there will be a park. It is really flexible.
Q: Tell us about FOR Families and how that ties into the special nature of Irvine.
A: We want to really help people who are having difficult times. There is support for people going through different life challenges, and we try to assist them with possible solutions. It is very consumer focused; all of our City staff work to make our residents feel welcome and accepted.