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Our favorite people we met in 2013


As journalists, one of our favorite things about the job is meeting new people and sharing their stories. Many of these people prove to be not only interesting but also inspiring, causing others to take action, effect change or just follow their own dreams. The following are just a few of the people in West Linn we and our readers found intriguing and noteworthy.

by: VERN UYETAKE - Cindy Sullivan

Cindy Sullivan has spent enough time training guide dogs that she can instantly recognize a certain change that comes over them. As a member of the Guide Dogs for the Blind program, she raises puppies for up to 14 months before they move on to formal training. (“A sight to behold: West Linn’s Cindy Sullivan found a calling with Guide Dogs for the Blind,” March 21)

by: VERN UYETAKE - Pauline Zonneveld

Pauline Zonneveld takes photos. Not just any photos. She captures the essence of man’s best friend. Her mission, through Good Old Dog Project, is to preserve the sweet memories of elderly dogs for the people who loved them. (“Good old dogs are not forgotten: Pauline Zonneveld preserves the memories of precious pooches before they pass,” May 23)

by: SUBMITTED - Rick Farnbach

Rick Farnbach spent 27 of his first 40 hours of time behind the controls of an airplane ferrying his new purchase back to Oregon from Florida, calling it a trip of a lifetime. (“Rick Farnbach completes a flight of a lifetime,” May 30)

Mylo Curtis and Cammy Pierson have found themselves the caretakers of their parents’ collection of pioneer items. They have established a foundation to maintain and display items such as an immigrant wagon and horse-drawn vehicles. (Caretakers for their parents’ dream,” July 18)

by: VERN UYETAKE - Isa Flores

Isa Flores is a success story, time and again. The mechanic, originally from Jalisco, Mexico, made a name and a business for himself in West Linn at Isa’s Auto Service. When his lease was revoked, Flores persevered and set up shop across the river in Oregon City. (“Carrying on: Local mechanic Isa Flores made a name for himself thousands of miles from home,” Aug. 15)

by: VERN UYETAKE - Evan Connell

Evan Connell throws himself a birthday party each year. But instead of raking in the gifts, he raises funds for charitable organizations in Oregon. His Big Bash parties have brought in $1.4 million for charity so far. (“A time to party is a time for giving,” Sept. 26)

by: VERN UYETAKE - Renee Layoun

At a point in life where appearances often are most coveted, on Sept. 14, West Linn High School senior Renee Layoun gave up her long, dark, curly hair in exchange for more than $1,300 in donations for childhood cancer research. She also donated more than 16 inches of her hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths, a nonprofit organization that makes wigs for cancer patients. (“Bald and beautiful: WLHS senior shaves her head, raises money for cancer research,” Sept. 26)

by: JOSH KULLA - Matt Markstaller

For the past year, Matt Markstaller and a handpicked team of about a half dozen have been working to design and build a motorcycle that would break the current land speed world record of 376 miles per hour. Did we mention he built it in his garage? (“Need for speed: WL engineer Matt Markstaller looks to build the world’s fastest motorcycle,” Oct. 17)

by: SUBMITTED - Barbara Briscoe

Barbara Briscoe wanted to “adopt a whole bunch” of Rwandan children on her medical mission trip last summer. Instead, she held a local fundraising event to help place nurses in elementary schools through the African nation. (“Something called my heart: Barbara Briscoe helps Rwanda’s children recover from genocide era,” Oct. 31)

by: VERN UYETAKE - Matthew Knowles

Matthew Knowles is a family man with a full-time job who also happens to be a Halloween fanatic. Each year he builds on his ever-evolving display outside his home that features everything from goblins to disembodied limbs, spooky sounds and — of course — a graveyard. (“Hallowed ground: Matthew Knowles takes Halloween decorations to a new level,” Oct. 31)

by: SUBMITTED - The Monney family

The Mooney family — dad Rick, mom Kelly, son Zach and daughter Alexis — all have a passion for auto racing and go-karts. Rick’s late father, Dick, drove cars back East in the 1960s and was a partner and friend of Janet Gutherie, the first woman to ever compete in both the Indianapolis and Daytona 500s. (“A family on the go, go, go,” Nov. 21)

by: VERN UYETAKE - Kirk Hale

Kirk Hale, a retired Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue deputy chief, spent his Thanksgiving volunteering in the Philippines, helping coordinate relief efforts in the aftermath of a devastating typhoon that struck the country earlier in November and left millions displaced. (“Answering the call,” Nov. 28, and “Shelter from the Storm,” Dec. 26)