Friday, May 25, 2012

A Memorial Day Thank You to one of Ours

Beginning his life in an orphanage, Hank Rice was adopted at just over a year old. Growing up with parents and a sister who was also adopted, Hank spent his childhood living in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California. After graduating from high school, Hank enrolled in the U.S. Army for 8.5 years. Three of those years were spent in Vietnam. Hank was a part of the 1st Air Cavalry's, 9th Regiment "Hunter Killer Teams," an elite, highly decorated unit that flew Cobra helicopters and had a 60-70% casualty rate. Quietly, Hank states that this was a life changing experience. "Apocalypse Now" is a well known movie that actually portrayed his unit. (Hank was personally shot down on three separate occasions) Among the various awards Hank has received, are the Distinguished Flying Cross on four occasions, the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal of Valour, and two Purple Hearts. In 1972 Hank left the Army and headed to Southern Rhodesia, where he got a commission in the Air Force to fly helicopters, but then, he was recruited as part of the Selous Scouts, an elite special forces unit. Returning to CA. after two years, Hank enrolled at Cal. State Univ. to get a bachelor's degree in International Relations and a minor in Economics. Later he went to work in the insurance industry as an investigator in the Arson and Fraud Division. The father of five children, Hank is currently married to Carol (Love) Rice, a Texas native. Hank moved from Portland to Corbett in 1996. It is here that he is able to be retired and enjoy a relaxed home and lifestyle. At age 40 Hank was able to find both of his birth parents (it took over a year) and is at peace that it was a positive experience for everyone, including seven half siblings. One of these days, there may even be a book that comes out of Hank's many life experiences. It is a thought that has crossed his mind more than once.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Man on Wheels

If you were to ask Nick Ray what the "good life" is, he would most likely let you know he is currently living it! Nick grew up in Portland with his parents and one sister. In 2009, Nick decided to move his own family out of the Rockwood area. Nick says he was living in an area that he considered dangerous, noisy, and stifling. He had no interest in having his kids grow up in such a stressful situation. Nick has three daughters, ages 13, 8 and 5. Currently they are all living on the property of his stepfather and mother in Corbett. He says that the fact his girls are able to play freely outside in the fresh air and have such a quality school to attend is fantastic. Nick is employeed at the Corbett Water District and says that most days after he walks his girls to school, he continues his walk to work! At the department, Nick helps run the treatment plant, lay pipe and set up/perform services and repairs for the customers. Lately they have been taking care of some main artery pipe work near the Grange Hall and that has affected many folks in the area. Some of the pipes are older and can burst, so they are then replaced with the newer PVC piping. When Nick is not at work or with his kids, he most enjoys long bike rides. Recently he went on a 67 mile ride and that was not even his longest~ one day he rode over 100 miles!! It is the freedom and fresh air that is the most appealing, not to mention the physical work out. Nick says he rides a mountain bike because it is more of a challenge and he likes that. Having a playful spirit, it is his daughter's that keep him active and young at heart. It is a good day when they are able to head over to the grade school to play on the swings or run around the fields. Nick loves the serenity of the area as well as the views he gets to see from his home. His favorite part of living in Corbett? "That's easy. The people." He is looking forward to helping out with the July 4th Parade this year.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Choosing to Live with Purpose

It all began at Sunnyside Hospital 20 years ago. Andrew Elwood made his first appearance and has never looked back. Having two older sisters, Jennifer and Tara, Andrew was born to Rachel and Matthew Elwood. Through much of his early years Andrew moved around quite a bit with his mother and oldest sister, Jennifer. His parents divorced and he lived in Corbett off and on. Once in 5th grade, he moved to Corbett permanently. Andrew's mother died when he was just 11 years old. After living in a short term care home, he lived with Corbett residents Sonny and Carnetta Boyd before moving in permanently with Great Aunt Sarah Stewart and (soon-to-be) Uncle Scott in Corbett. Andrew played football for Corbett throughout middle and early high school. He also took private lessons to earn his Black Belt in Brazilian Jujitsu and a Tier 2 Qualification in Muay Thai. Andrew also worked during the summer time period at the local View Point Inn Restaurant. He teamed up throughout high school with Jacy Clare to represent Corbett High's Robotics Team three consecutive years at the MATE International Aquatic Robotics Competition. Up against 5 and 6A schools, the two man team managed to place 3rd at regionals! Once graduated from Corbett High, Andrew headed to Oregon State University to pursue mechanical engineering. Because of his current struggle with his unique and aggressive cancer, Andrew has taken a step back from school but will go back to pursue pre-med with a focus on chiropractic medicine next fall (2013). His goal is to eventually pursue his doctorate in medicine. Andrew has been diagnosed six different times with melanoma and suffers from constant physical pains, even while medicated. Andrew is not depressed or discouraged, although he has been down those paths. Having childhood friends JR Renner and Cierra Williams as well as key "extended family" such as the parents of his best and closest friends and many Corbett teachers, has made a HUGE impact and difference in his life. Andrew said Corbett is a place of comfort and security for him, knowing he truly is cared about here. In a recent friendship with Aubrey Woodard, Andrew took on a new faith in God and has a new outlook on life. In December of 2011, after facing an occipital cranionomy, Andrew said he had thought the most powerful feeling was pain, but realized soon after that it was instead, love. Andrew's greatest desire at this point is to help others. He has taken the initiative in life to live by striving to incorporate all levels of health and medicine, whether is be Western or Eastern Medicines, nutrition, fitness; whatever he can find, to find a cure for his disease. Andrew has begun tattooing what matters most to him and what he lives by, on his body. Currently he honors his grandfather and hero, Albert Smith with "Maxime Honorem", latin for "Honor Above All Else" across shoulders. A vendetta to his mother tattooed on his right shoulder reads "Superstes" Latin for "Survive," and the Roman numerals "MMIII" which represent the year his mother passed away from pancreatic cancer. Andrew lives each day believeing that there is always more positive than negative in the world, and that there is always hope. If you wish to support Andrew, please go to:

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Welcome to Corbett!!

It was definitely a journey, but Marnie Brown Conti is finally here to stay! Growing up on the East Coast, Marnie says she was named after the Hitchcock movie, "Marnie." She has one brother and says her parents were free loving hippies that embraced life. Marnie learned to do the same. Graduating from college in Vermont, she spent the next 10 months traveling with a girlfriend. They explored The South Pacific, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and Australia. Eventually she made her way home, then took off to Utah to play, ski and work. Getting a job in finance (what her degree was in) did not bring her any joy or satisfaction. She quit the job and went to the Utah College of Massage Therapy to become a massage therapist. Always passionate about fitness, Marnie began working at a resort hotel, where she was introduced to spa manager, Matt Conti. The two fell in love and moved to Hood River, Oregon to windsurf. Matt had also grown up on the East Coast. They shared a passion for living life to the fullest with lots of physical activity. They both became massage therapists at Skamania Lodge then later moved to Vermont to work at a tennis resort. While there, they became engaged. Married in Massachusetts in 1997, they chose to move back to Utah. This time Matt took a job with Fidelity Investments, choosing to work in the field in which he had his MBA degree. They were job transferred to Rhode Island, and then eventually back to Oregon. Remembering how passionate they were about the Gorge in their earlier years, they began looking for a home nearby. Corbett seemed to be a perfect fit. With three children aged 10, 8 and 6, they made the move to Corbett just two months ago. They are extremely happy to have a view of the Gorge and are excited to get involved in the community! Her hope? To get a lacrosse team started for the Corbett kids.