As one calendar year ends and another begins it is typical to look back to consider what has passed as we move into a new year. As a writer for Serve Daily, I have realized some amazing people stories in our community. Ordinary people who have excelled because of their passion for what they are doing. People with challenges who have established a remarkable achievement because of determination and sometimes with the help of compassionate individuals in our community. People we need to know about who can be an example to each of us in a special way as we look ahead to 2018.
I did a story on the 80-year-old man that did a mural of the Golden Gate Bridge on the side of the Pier 49 Pizza Parlor in Springville. Little did I know that Mark Shipley who does not know the word retirement and keeps busy to fight depression was a remarkable director of over 200 live plays in southern California. He went on to do several murals around the area, the backdrop and opening number for the Salem Pageant this past summer and the day before Christmas Eve closed a very successful live performance of “A Christmas Carol” at the Spanish Fork Angelus Theater. Mark tells me that at one time he thought directing another performance of “A Christmas Carol” was a thing of his past. Curt Gordon of the Angelus Theater was so impressed that he wants Mark to bring another theatrical program to his theater and “A Christmas Carol” to be an annual event. Mr. Mark Shipley is an amazing man.
Ryan Stream the 28-year-old Army veteran who was born into a family of drug-addicted parents in and out of jail and living in the worst possible conditions. He and his brothers were eventually adopted into a functional family, worked as a coal miner, got into drugs, joined the Army and served two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He now strives to be a motivational speaker for young people and adults that “each of us writes our own story.” He is a wonderful speaker and inspirational person. Another amazing man that I have met as a result of writing for Serve Daily.
Amazing women that come to mind are Christy Clark who after running her own successful business is involved in helping others run their own successful business using her knowledge of human behavioral psychology. She speaks frequently to young people about behavioral issues and she is particularly concerned about suicide. Christy has joined forces with James O’Brien and the Food Forever Foundation.
Nadia Khristean, a 20-year-old BYU music major who has been inspired to write and sing songs for good causes since she was 11 years old. She wants to be “a voice for the voiceless people in need.” We will be hearing a lot more about this amazing lady in the future.
Then there is the 20-year-old horse trainer in Mona, Utah Chyrah Bussian that took an adopted BLM Mustang to a championship at a horse show and was the most expensive Mustang sold at the event. Hours and hours of training were spent training her horse and that was very evident in the judging arena. Her dedication to her chosen profession deserves all the accolades she can receive. She comes from a neat family of horse lovers.
How about a middle age woman who decided to quit her good job with benefits and started her own restaurant. That is exactly what Kathleen Williams did 40 years ago and her restaurant, the Santa Queen in Santaquin is a thriving business today under the ownership of her grandson and entrepreneur Colby Stevenson. Kathleen followed her passion and at 83 loves to talk about her amazing little restaurant today. This is the epitome of the small business opportunity that the United States offers its citizens. What a wonderful story and Kathleen is a hero in my book.
Jon Winget has been teaching for 40 years and remains a delightfully enthusiastic instructor. To demonstrate how our government works he had his 7th-grade class at Salem Junior High School write several government officials and his class received replies back from Governor Herbert and President Trump. Mr. Winget’s passion for teaching is obvious and a pleasure to witness.
Based on what I have seen in 2017 there are a lot more wonderful and amazing people to be discovered in 2018.