Kiwanis-Rex Riley winners from 10 years ago 02.02.10

Written by David Green.

As the second Wednesday of February approaches—the day of the Rex Riley-Kiwanis Soup and Pie fund-raiser—the Observer takes a look back at the scholarship winners from 10 years ago.

In 2000, seven Morenci graduates received financial help from the scholarship fund.

Lynette VanBrandt Black—The class valedictorian earned a degree in environmental science from Calvin College. She led environmental education programs for children through adults while serving as an Americorp worker for two years.

The job included some habitat restoration projects and Lynette says she learned a lot during her two years.

She married Grant Black and he landed a job teaching at Indiana University, South Bend. Lynette began working for the Soil and Water Conservation District office in Eklhart, but she gave it up before her first child was born.

“That’s my new job,” she said.

She’s hoping to take part in volunteering opportunities when she’s able and she and her husband remain active in various church ministries.

Ashley Phebus—The class salutatorian attended Defiance College and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice. While a student, she worked as a security guard at Sauder Woodworking and remained at Sauder until 2005 when she was hired by Paulding County Job and Family Services as an ongoing caseworker Children's Services.

“I worked directly with families who had been identified as having issues of neglect and/or abuse in the home,” she explained.

In 2008 she took a position as a Corrections Officer at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, then became probation officer with the Defiance County Juvenile Probation Office in 2009.

She’s also nearing the end of a master’s degree in criminal justice administration through Tiffin College.

She’s hoping to find a job offering more administrative/supervisory dutieAs the second Wednesday of February approaches—the day of the Rex Riley-Kiwanis Soup and Pie fund-raiser—the Observer takes a look back at the scholarship winners from 10 years ago.

In 2000, seven Morenci graduates received financial help from the scholarship fund.

LYNETTE VanBRANDT BLACK—The class valedictorian earned a degree in environmental science from Calvin College. She led environmental education programs for children through adults while serving as an Americorp worker for two years.

The job included some habitat restoration projects and Lynette says she learned a lot during her two years.

She married Grant Black and he landed a job teaching at Indiana University, South Bend. Lynette began working for the Soil and Water Conservation District office in Eklhart, but she gave it up before her first child was born.

“That’s my new job,” she said.

She’s hoping to take part in volunteering opportunities when she’s able and she and her husband remain active in various church ministries.

ASHLEY PHEBUS—The class salutatorian attended Defiance College and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice. While a student, she worked as a security guard at Sauder Woodworking and remained at Sauder until 2005 when she was hired by Paulding County Job and Family Services as an ongoing caseworker Children's Services.

“I worked directly with families who had been identified as having issues of neglect and/or abuse in the home,” she explained.

In 2008 she took a position as a Corrections Officer at the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio, then became probation officer with the Defiance County Juvenile Probation Office in 2009.

She’s also nearing the end of a master’s degree in criminal justice administration through Tiffin College.

She’s hoping to find a job offering more administrative/supervisory duties—something located in a warmer climate.

MOLLY McDOWELL—Molly studied art and education at Siena Heights University and was hired to serve as the junior and senior high art teacher in Reading, Mich.

Budget cuts resulted in a layoff so Molly started graduate work, with plans to earn a master’s degree in special education.

“Optimism is one of my strengths,” she said, “so I must point out that being laid off has given me the wonderful experience of being a stay-at-home mom.”

She and her husband Brian Shaffer, have two children: a daughter, Rowan, 3 -1/2, and a son, Beau, 2-1/2.

“They enjoy the luxury of every day being a ‘snow day’ with mom,” she said.

The family moved from Wauseon to Morenci about a year ago and Molly says the community has everything a toddler could want, between the park, library and Rex.

“I would like to thank the Rex Riley Foundation for the belief they showed in me 10 years ago, and I promise them that I am actively seeking work that will put my education to good use.”

CARRIE MORAN HARSH—Carrie earned an  associate’s degree from Northwest State Community College in applied science as a registered nurse and now works as a charge nurse on the oncology floor at Flower Hospital.

“I have specialized in chemotherapy and oncology and have many certifications including advanced cardiac life support, chemotherapy and biotherapy administration and heart monitoring,” she said, “and I am on the Rapid Response Team.

She has been married to Chuck Harsh for seven years and they have a 3-year-old, Lauren.  Another baby will be arriving in August.

“I continue to live in Morenci and attend Morenci First Baptist Church,” she said. “My future plans include going back to school to become a nurse practitioner specializing in oncology.”

No response was received from Aaron Hughes, Joel Erway and Valerie Kruse.

VALERIE KRUSE—Valerie Kruse attended Central Michigan University for two and one-half years before transferring to Washtenaw Community College to obtain a degree in nursing.

“I am currently a registered nurse with hopes of returning to either Eastern Michigan University or Kent State University this spring to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.”

Valerie works at the Veteran’s Hospital in Ann Arbor and lives in Tecumseh, althgough she hopes to soon purchase a house in Adrian.

AARON HUGHES—After earning a bachelor’s degree in zoology from Michigan State University, Aaron began work as a veterinary technician. He’s also attending to classes at MSU to earn a teaching degree for high school biology.

“My future plans are to find a job as a high school biology teacher, go on lots of hiking/backpacking trips all over the U.S., and possibly create a wildlife sanctuary for injured/old animals.”

He’s enjoying life in East Lansing, but he would like to migrate to a warmer climate in the future.s—something located in a warmer climate.

Molly McDowell—Molly studied art and education at Siena Heights University and was hired to serve as the junior and senior high art teacher in Reading, Mich.

Budget cuts resulted in a layoff so Molly started graduate work, with plans to earn a master’s degree in special education.

“Optimism is one of my strengths,” she said, “so I must point out that being laid off has given me the wonderful experience of being a stay-at-home mom.”

She and her husband Brian Shaffer, have two children: a daughter, Rowan, 3 -1/2, and a son, Beau, 2-1/2.

“They enjoy the luxury of every day being a ‘snow day’ with mom,” she said.

The family moved from Wauseon to Morenci about a year ago and Molly says the community has everything a toddler could want, between the park, library and Rex.

“I would like to thank the Rex Riley Foundation for the belief they showed in me 10 years ago, and I promise them that I am actively seeking work that will put my education to good use.”

Carrie Moran Harsh—Carrie earned an  associate’s degree from Northwest State Community College in applied science as a registered nurse and now works as a charge nurse on the oncology floor at Flower Hospital.

“I have specialized in chemotherapy and oncology and have many certifications including advanced cardiac life support, chemotherapy and biotherapy administration and heart monitoring,” she said, “and I am on the Rapid Response Team.

She has been married to Chuck Harsh for seven years and they have a 3-year-old, Lauren.  Another baby will be arriving in August.

“I continue to live in Morenci and attend Morenci First Baptist Church,” she said. “My future plans include going back to school to become a nurse practitioner specializing in oncology.”

No response was received from Aaron Hughes, Joel Erway and Valerie Kruse.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016