Jan Lorrian

Jan Lorrain is very active in the community. She serves as the treasurer of the Coppell Historical Society, volunteers with the senior center, serves as a member of the library board, is active with the community garden and is also a member of Citizens on Patrol. Lorrain recently served as a member of the Allies in Community, a city initiative to build relationships throughout the community. Lorrain has a passion for history, a topic she said she’s been interested in since a young age. Lorrain loves to read and spend time with her family.

How long have you lived in Coppell?

I moved here in 1986 when there were just 5,000 people here.

What work have you done to promote history?

My husband and I were interested in what the city was doing as it was growing. Our main interest has always been archeology and history. A lot of what we did is as the town was developing, we went to the construction sites, and we found that there were a lot of Native American sites all over Coppell. We had Denton Creek running through here and then the Elm Fork of the Trinity River. There was a lot of water sources so there were a lot of camping sites.

Because of our interest in that, the Texas Historical Commission had us be stewards for the state so a lot of our volunteer work included projects working with the Texas Historical Commission. We happen to be out at Tonto National Monument, and they were looking for volunteers for the park and asked if we would be interested in living at the park and helping with the visiting center. It was a wonderful opportunity for us to be involved in promoting the Native American lifestyle to people all over the country who came to visit the park. We have also been active in the Coppell Historical Society. We help promote all of the activities they are doing.

What sparked your interest in history?

It actually started in high school. I had a high school teacher who taught that history is not dates and places, history is people. I’ve always been interested in developing relationships with people. There are so many different cultures with different people, and I’ve been interested in that. It’s just something that’s always fascinated me from an early age.

What inspired you to get involved with Allies in Community?

I spent six months of my junior year in college living in Mexico City, and I lived with a family there. I came to realize that people in a different culture are people just like we are. I became very much involved with the idea that we’re all the same people, and we should take care of each other. Coppell has become very diversified, which is wonderful. I wanted to promote that. The Allies’ main purpose is to promote diversity and to enhance and encourage diversity and embrace it so our city can be a peaceful place to live.

What did you learn from your involvement?

I learned some tools about how to handle diversity, and I’ve met a lot of people that I’ve never would have had an opportunity to meet before.

What are some of the ways you give back?

One of the reasons I joined the community garden is I realized there are people going to the food banks for their only nourishment, and they end up eating canned food. I thought how can I contribute? I’m active in the senior center. We have a program called Knit Wits, and we provide knit hats to all the babies at Parkland, and we do adult hats that are donated to the Salvation Army. For my community, I’m involved with Citizens on Patrol. We’re associated with the police department, and we go out to patrol around the city. We’re kind of the eyes and ears for the police department. One of the main things we do is vacation checks when people are away from home. Those are small ways that I can help other people and I think we should be involved with providing as much help for other people as we can.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like photography, and I read a lot. I love to read. It’s just a broadening thing to do. I garden. It’s good to be outside doing things. I have family activities too. I have eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren so that keeps me busy.

What’s your favorite book?

“To Kill a Mockingbird.” It’s such a compelling story.

If you could travel the world, what would your first three destinations be?

First, I would go to the Stonehenge in England, and I would go back to Tikal. Then I’d visit Yosemite National Park.

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