When Gerri Hendricks was living in Salem with husband Darrell, they were both looking to make a move closer to Darrell's job. When their Realtor found a lovely spot in Corbett, Gerri was surprised because she had no idea exactly where or what Corbett was all about. Because she grew up in the Humboldt State Park as a child, Corbett immediately felt like home. Gerri's father was a forest ranger and she always felt most comfortable in a rural setting. What a nice surprise to "discover" Corbett! Together Darrell and Gerri have three children- Alex, 18, Amanda 13 and Alyssa is 10. Unable to have children, Alex was adopted from Eugene at 2 days old, and Amanda was adopted from Korea just before she was six months old. At this point they felt their family was "complete." One day Gerri had a severe back ache and went in to get an x-ray. When the doctor asked if she could be pregnant, she laughed out loud. "Highly doubtful!" The doctor decided to check anyway. Surprise!! At age 42, Gerri was expecting, and she was so stunned, she was speechless. Darrell called her and asked how her appointment was and if they had "discovered" anything. "Well, actually , YES...they have" was the answer! Raising their kids in Corbett has been an absolute joy. Alex is currently an Eagle Scout candidate and a senior at Corbett High. Amanda is actively involved with Girl Scouts and as is Alyssa. Gerri works full-time at the Vancouver VA Hospital and is a recreational therapist. She enjoys being able to help veterans do the leisure activities they once enjoyed prior to their activities. The past 11 years, Gerri's sister, "Nanny Kaye" has lived with their family full time after her husband passed. Kaye helps out around the home as well as helping with the care of the kids. Gerri then has the time and energy to be very involved with all the kid's activities in Scouting as well as doing a great deal of volunteer work at the schools.Gerri loves everything in Corbett- the people, the beauty, the wildlife, and even...surprise! THE WIND!
Chemae Steven's grandparents, Josh and Barbara Wall had lived in Corbett for 32 years before her grandfather passed last summer. Chemae always knew that one day she also wanted her own family to live in the community. After three years of searching, she and husband Eric found just the "right" home. Living in Corbett the past seven years, both Chemae and Eric love the Corbett community and have been involved on many levels with their two children, Matt and Maddie. Chemae has been a librarian at the grade school, helped out in the classrooms, and helped support Eric with the Booster Club and putting on the Red and Black Dinner/Auction held each year. Although Chemae is slender and fit now, that was not always the case. Five years ago Chemae saw a gal in the community start losing some weight and asked her about it. Chemae was struggling with some serious health issues and needed to drop weight. After beginning the "Take Shape for Life" program, Chemae lost 32 lbs. in just three months. Her issues with diabetes and heart disease were now no longer a concern. Feeling better than she ever has after five years of keeping off all the weight, Chemae is driven to help others succeed as well. In fact, Eric recently came on board full time to join her career as a health coach in their business,"Fit for Me" (TSFL). Chemae says that together they take folks from a "surviving" lifestyle to a THRIVING one, restoring people's health, hopes and dreams. Personally, Chemae knows that goals and dreams are possible. In 1989 Chemae was an exchange student in college, going from OSU to Australia for a full school year. She says she became a certified scuba diver so that she could dive the Great Barrier Reef. This is an experience she will never forget, and she says she is drawn to help others set and reach their dreams and goals as well....whatever they may be!
One of the first things you may notice about Joe Luna is that when you shake his hand, it is quite strong and weathered. Joe has been using his hands most of his entire life, even building his own home in Corbett in 1995. Joe is a brick layer who also lays stone and block. He has built both reader board signs at the Corbett Schools, the base for the Corbett sign at the west end of the grade school, worked on the Jeff Lucas Memorial, and laid brick pavers to raise money at the grade school playground. Joe has even done restoration work on the Vista House. Carefully, he saved all of the pieces and then "put everything back together" as needed. Joe and wife Lori are heavily vested in the community, raising daughter Antonia and twin boys, Gabe and Ben here. Antonia recently married in the Bahamas and now lives in Portland with her husband. Both boys are also living and working in Portland. Lori teaches Spanish at the Corbett Schools and is also the co-principal of the high/middle schools. As their kids were growing up, Joe was also a coach. He coached girl's softball and soccer as well as boy's soccer and baseball. All three of the kids excelled in athletics. Joe loves the small town feel of Corbett, as he was raised in the Sequoia National Forest. His dad was a forest ranger. Recently Lori and Joe purchased a second home in Gaunajauto, Mexico that is currently being renovated. They look forward to taking several trips a year to visit, as this is where Lori has attended summer school the last three years. Joe says that Mexico will never replace Corbett, and he someday wants to be "buried in the back yard!" He seems to love everything about the place, including the schools that he and Lori are so heavily vested in. Joe says he greatly appreciates all the positive people that have had a positive impact on the schools over the years. "THAT is why Corbett is thriving!"
James "Jim" Layton was born in Georgia and was one of ten boys born to his parents. Jim was number nine of ten, born in 1931. When Jim was just eight years old, his father was killed in a car accident. Just a few years later, Jim dropped out of school to help care for his mother, and she died when he was just 14 years old. It was decided that the best choice was for him to move to Oregon to live with one of his older brothers. Moving to Corbett, Jim lived a brief time with his brother before moving in with Mrs. Davis, Woody's grandmother. One month later she died, so he went to live with his "second mother" who was Mrs.Ward Evans. Her husband had recently passed and her older children wanted her to have someone in the home with her. It was a great match, and Jim grew very close to Rae Evans who lived on Evans Road. Jim worked on the family daffodil farm and attended school at Springdale Grade School and then Corbett High. Jim signed up for the Marine reserves and was activated in June 1950 before graduating from high school. Heading to CA. for boot camp, Jim was serving at Camp Pendleton until 1955. In between those years, Jim also had served two tours to Korea. On leave in 1953, Jim went home to Corbett and met the girl of his dreams, Nona who was nearly five years younger than him. When finished with his military service in 1955, they married on the last day of that year. Jim and Nona went on to have five children, 12 grandchildren and six great grandchildren! All five of their adult children live in the local area, with three actually in Corbett. Jim and Nona had a busy life- they owned the Corbett Garage service station in Corbett for nine years and then Jim went to work for the BPA as a heavy truck driver for 27 years before retiring in 1993. Nona was a operating room technician for 25 years at Providence Medical Center before retiring. In 1988 she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and has done well to manage since. One of Jim's favorite memories is driving for BPA all over the NW in areas where the public is not allowed. He delivered power poles, transformers and the oil for them to some very remote and beautiful areas that will always be etched in his mind. Jim spent 15 years as a Corbett volunteer firefighter, many as the Asst. Fire Chief. Today he reflects on his "excellent life" with his favorite friends over breakfast each Wed. morning at the Corbett Country Market. He is a proud member of the "Rusty Zipper Club."
For Nikki Hjelm, this wife and mother of two is starting a new chapter in her life with a new adventure. Her and mother, Stacey Davenport just recently opened up The Springdale Trader next to Gloria's Hair Salon in Springdale. Nikki's father, Eric Davenport grew up in Corbett and her uncle Mark Davenport is the manager at Multnomah Falls Lodge restaurant. The store opened January 27, 2012 and sells eclectic, artsy, antique and handmade items. They offer consignment opportunities to those in the community. You get to set your own price, and have 30 days to display your item(s) in the store at no charge. If it sells, the store is paid 25% of the selling price. The last Saturday of each month, Nikki plans to give 50% of the store's proceeds to the Corbett Schools as a donation! Just a year and a half ago, Nikki and her family moved to Corbett from the Gresham area. She and her husband Billy wanted their two boys to be a part of the Corbett School system. They currently live nearly next door to the schools and say they love the proximity! Just after moving in, Nikki began holding " yard sales" in front of their home. She says the response was so positive and amazing that she jumped at the opportunity to open an actual store in Springdale. About four years ago, Nikki's younger sister Roxann was 19 years old and got into a terrible car accident on her way home from working a double shift at the Multnomah Falls Lodge restaurant. Roxann drove over a cliff in the dark and was trapped in her car for 17 hours before being found and rescued. She is currently a quadriplegic. Nikki and her mother cared for her the last several years before recently getting her placed in a care facility. The event completely changed the entire family and made them all re-evaluate life. Nikki is now excited to move forward in a positive direction as she raises her sons, volunteers at the school, watches her husband study hard to his advanced degree in welding and now works with her mom in their new store. Getting a bit emotional, Nikki said she is overwhelmed with the positive people in the Corbett community. "They are some of the kindest and most amazing people I have EVER met." After several years of heartache in caring for her sister, she says she loves resting in the comfort of the amazing community she now gets to call home.
There will be a total of seven volunteer Corbett Firefighters making the climb up 69 flights of stairs in Seattle's Columbia Tower next month. They will each be wearing approx. 65 lbs. of gear as they make the 788 vertical foot climb up 1,311 stairs. The climb will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and can be supported at www.firefighterstairclimb.org. When Tim Downing, A CPA from Portland, moved to Corbett nearly two years ago, he had no idea that a stair climb would be in his future. Married at the View Point Inn, Tim married Tara, a nurse whom he had actually met the first day of high school at Portland Christian. Tim has two children from his first marriage and together he and Tara have an almost 5 month old daughter. The two had gone to high school together, married others and then reunited after both had divorced. When Tim and Tara moved into Corbett, there was a flyer in their mailbox encouraging locals to become a volunteer firefighter. Tim had no experience, but thought he would give it a try. Tim says that the fire department is like family. He was immediately accepted and the experience has been indescribable. The department has responded to over 400 calls in 2011 and there was an excess of 35,000 volunteer hours put in with both training and call response. Besides appreciating the camaraderie of the fire department, Tim also speaks highly of the gorgeous views he and his family are able to experience from their home. As a CPA, in 2010 Tim started his own practice here in Corbett. He provides tax and accounting services to individuals and small businesses. The name- Columbia River Financial, was a natural, given the area and the view from his home office. He can be reached at www.columbiariverfinancial.com Tim says that it took quite some time to find the "right" home, but now that his family is settled, it sounds as if they will NOT be looking to move any time soon!
"It's a different kind of a person who lives in Corbett" laughs Larry Diebert. "People really do care, and do have the time to talk with you. "He is quite happy to have made the move in 1994 despite the tragedy that began his journey to the community. Having lived in Troutdale for 26 years, Larry and his wife Diane were ready for a bit more space between their home and the neighbors, so went to Corbett to look around. Finding a home in foreclosure that Diane just loved, they put down their earnest money. Within days of this, Diane wasn't feeling well and went to the doctor. In less than a month, she had passed, never having gotten the chance to live in the home. Larry had three sons from his first marriage to Bev (she passed from Leukemia) and two of them, Kim and Lou helped Larry to renovate and paint the Corbett house. It took Larry six months to actually move in. Once settled, he loved the peaceful and quiet acreage, solitude and fresh air. It was very relaxing and healing for him. Larry is currently married to Suzanne, and they have both helped out with the Helping Hands Food Program at the Corbett Grange. Larry owns several large trucks and pieces of equipment, so is a driver for the pick up of the food donations from around the city of Portland. He enjoys and appreciates being able to help feed the community with the food salvage program. Larry was actually once a neighbor to the current director of the program, Arnold DuFresne. They both lived in Portland and never met until volunteering together at the grange! Larry was the first in his family to be involved with the military, and his son Cary followed suit. Larry went to Army flight school and became a pilot. He also went to Jump School, Jungle School and Helicopter Training School. Eventually Larry retired with 26 years of military service. In 1968, he went to work for a Yellow Pages publisher, and ten years later started his own business in the same industry. After twenty years of owning his own business, Larry retired. Although he is now officially retired, rarely will you see Larry "resting." He is still actively involved in military activities and travel as well as spending time with his grandchildren!