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.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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