Jul 11

Catherine Todorov, silent strength

Catherine Todorov, photographed along the Cowlitz River. ©Tony Gale

Catherine Todorov
All too often people are defined by what they do rather than who they are. What makes Catherine interesting has more to do with who she is than what she does. She is often described as an old soul. Wise beyond her years, she has a silent strength that most people can only dream of having. After having battled her own inner demons at an early age, she has risen above to become an example to her friends and family of the power of sheer will and tenacity. She has not let herself be defined by these early experiences and is the first to lend a sympathetic ear. But don’t mistake this for passivity, she is one fiesty lady! As a new mother, she exudes a serene happiness in the role she was meant to play.

Jun 09

Christopher Stribley, creative

Christopher Stribley in NYC. © Tony Gale

Christopher Stribley in NYC. © Tony Gale

Christopher Stribley

Very tall.  Pale.  Lean.  Creative and constantly working.  Chris has many layers.  He’s like an onion – layers and layers and stories that will bring tears to your eyes.

Nominated and described by Deidre Schoo

Apr 09

Janice Hartman. You Want It, She’s Got It!

Janice Hartman, in her home. © Tony Gale

Janice Hartman, in her home. © Tony Gale

Janice Hartman

Janice Hartman is the most talented organizer I know. She has helped run her church garage sale for 31 years, recently raising over $20,000 each year. She organizes the entire layout of the sale and storage of all the shelves & racks. That may not sound like much of a challenge, but if you could see how large the sale is, it would all make sense. Her magic touch doesn’t stop there, Janice can walk into a room and rearrange the items, adding displays and fixing layout, so that sales drastically increase.

As Janice’s daughter, my fondest memories are from childhood. We had rows of boxes, neatly stacked, labeled and often with samples taped to the front for ease of viewing. As a child, I didn’t understand the point of keeping so many random things, however now I do! My mother didn’t see toilet paper rolls, she saw an arts and crafts project for an elementary school teacher. Instead of laundry soap lids, she saw seed starting containers, which incidentally, I am currently using . My mother has a beautifully creative mind and a recycling-for-a-purpose mindset that I aspire to.

When it came time for dress up, all my friends came to my house because my mother had it, whatever “it” was. She had costumes, jewelry in every color, handbags, scarves and more. On the off chance she didn’t have something, she would find something different that we could alter or make into what we wanted. Playing dress up at Janice Hartman’s house was never taken lightly. Thanks Mom, for being so wonderfully creative and generous!

Nominated and described by Suzanne Hartman

Mar 09

Carol Post, “It’s About the Children…”

Carol Post, photographed outside her home © Tony Gale

Carol Post, photographed outside her home © Tony Gale

Carol Post

Carol Post is a foster, adoptive and biological mom. After raising her biological children and retiring from a successful modeling career, Carol had the opportunity to relax and take it easy, but instead decided to make a difference in the world.  She became a foster parent for special needs children, deciding to start with, “Just one.”  Now she is mom to 17.

However, Carol didn’t stop there! She and her husband bought a small farmhouse to accommodate more children and eventually start a program where inner city youth can experience country living, play in nature and be around animals.

When she discovered that the house needed extensive renovations, instead of getting discouraged, Carol saw an opportunity to break down racial, age and class barriers. She invited volunteers, mostly school age with their advisors, to work on the house, learn about the struggles of single moms and foster children, and make a difference by bringing clothing and other items to give away. Incredibly, nineteen couples have begun to foster children as a direct result of spending time at the farm.

Today, Carol has adopted six children and has temporary custody of two more with many plans for the future. I want to thank Carol, her family and all the volunteers for helping to provide a safe, warm environment for so many young lives!

Nominated and described by Suzanne Hartman