Inspiration

Born to be Wild

2016-07-29 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Painting by Marless Fellows
Writer Amanda Christmann   In the searing heat of summer, brittlebush and cholla take long pauses, scorched and tested by unforgiving rays of the desert sun. Whiptail and earless lizards scurry from the sparse shade of one parched palo verde to the next, and families of Harris’s hawks perch tiredly atop the spiny tops of saguaros.   Desert cicadas break the silence, their rattling screams seeming to come from the mesquites and prickly pear cacti themselves. The swish of a tail, barely visible from behind a crop of mesquites, shatters the stillness, followed by an unmistakable snort. A sturdy white stallion rises like a mirage out of the waves of heat that dance above the desert floor. Alert, he glances sideways from a dark eye, one ear perked high as he listens to the sound of approaching visitors.   Only mildly cautious — for he has seen many visitors in recent years — he steps toward a striking chestnut mare with white socks and a white blaze, softly snorting to prompt her... More

Weekend Warriors: Team Anthem

2016-06-10 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Bryan Black
Writer Tom Scanlon   Saturdays and Sundays are the unofficial “sleep in” days across America. Yet around Anthem, long before dawn on most weekends, alarm clocks are going off and a group of men and women, exhausted from another week’s work, are snapping out of deep sleep and climbing out of bed.   As the first light of day is rising over the desert hills, two dozen adults ranging in age from late 30s to early 60s are already burning calories like barbecues burn coal. They might be running down the road, they might be cycling steep hills, they might even be swimming in a choppy lake — whatever it takes to train for races that test their breaking points.   For many people, training for marathons, triathlons and Ironman competitions is a solitary, even lonely pursuit. Here in the North Valley, extreme athletes have gravitated toward one another, creating a super-fit pod.   This is Team Anthem, and this is the place, if you’re looking for a group not just to help you get into... More

Field of Big Dreams: Miracle League of Arizona

2016-06-06 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Submitted
Writer: Shannon Severson   Baseball is the ultimate American game. The national pastime, mom and apple pie all rolled into one glorious notion that blends the seemingly incongruous images of perfectly manicured fields and empty dirt lots, and calls to mind the skilled, sinewy power hitters wielding Louisville Sluggers in palatial stadiums in almost equal measure to dusty little kids swinging sticks on neighborhood streets. In essence, it’s a game that can be enjoyed and played by just about anyone.   But for children with disabilities, there are barriers in the traditional version of baseball that prevent them from playing and enjoying the Grand Old Game with their typical peers. Enter the Miracle League of Arizona (MLAZ) in North Scottsdale and their motto: “Every child deserves the chance to play baseball.”   MLAZ offers children, teens and adults with disabilities or special needs the opportunity to experience the joy of playing baseball in either a non-competitive or... More

Meet the Barnett Family

2016-06-02 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Lauren Strait   Even though Luke Barnett grew up in the church — especially a well-established church like Phoenix First Assembly — he had no intention of following in his father’s footsteps when it came to ministry.   “Although I was heavily involved in our church, I didn’t see myself leading or pastoring like my father,” says Luke. “I really enjoyed sports and played professional golf on a mini tour in college while working on my degree in business administration.”   Luke’s father, Pastor Tommy Barnett, always told him that people shouldn’t go into ministry because of any push; rather, it should be God’s calling. During that same conversation, his father mentioned that if Luke was ever asked to go speak at a neighboring church, he should try it. Two weeks later, a man called asking for someone to speak at a church in Goodyear.   “I immediately accused my dad of setting this whole thing up,” Luke says, laughing. “He swore he had nothing to do... More

National Park Service 100: Chelly Canyon

2016-06-02 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


This year, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of preservation of land, animals and resources — and of providing opportunities to experience, explore and enjoy the 58 national parks and more than 400 public lands it administers. Twenty-two of these lands, including three national parks, are located in Arizona, and if ever there was a time to appreciate these unique gifts in our home state, this is it.   The centennial celebration is more than an acknowledgment of the past; it is recognition of the continuing achievements for our own generations, as well as for generations yet to be born. Through our national parks, we are creating an ongoing legacy that, no matter what technology or cultural changes occur, will allow future Americans to understand and feel for themselves the deep interdependence humans, in our most basic of elements, have with the rest of the natural living world.   To celebrate this remarkable achievement, our Images Arizona staff will be... More

Ninja vet: Elaine Carpenter

2016-05-31 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Submitted by Elaine Carpenter
Writer Tom Scanlon   “Boredom is the root of all evil — the despairing refusal to be oneself,” wrote Soren Kierkegaard, the Danish philosopher. The life and adventures of Elaine Carpenter, the Cave Creek horse veterinarian, offer proof to that thesis.   Carpenter was getting just a tad bored with her life until she stumbled upon a few key things that made her soul recognize itself: speed, pushing herself to the limit, trying new things and taking risks that, while calculated, make those close to her cover their eyes and moan, “For the love of sanity, Elaine — please, no!”   These days, there must be something dull and mundane in Carpenter’s life, but you’d have to do a thorough investigation to find it. Even her day job is exciting — she’s a veterinarian specializing in equine surgery. After work and on weekends, she loves to race motorcycles, do stunt flying in planes, climb rocks and other things that have her adrenal glands firing off hormones like machine gun... More

Drive By Blessings: Helping Vets, Finding Hope

2016-05-27 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Loralei Lazurek
Writer Shannon Severson   Sometimes, the best remedy for a broken heart is reaching out to help others. Less than a year ago, Karynda and Brandon Kearns’ family was experiencing the hardest time of their lives. Their youngest sons, Owen and Aiden, were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder after enduring severe emotional trauma. Karynda struggled to keep a brave face for her children, but felt they were all stuck in an endless cycle of painful thoughts.   “About three weeks after that trauma, I decided we needed to do something to get our minds off of our own difficulties,” says Karynda. “I went to the kids for ideas and they suggested we create ‘blessing bags’ to hand out to the homeless as we drove by.”   The boys designed a logo themselves, filled plastic zip bags with water, basic toiletries and snacks — and Drive By Blessings was born.   “When we focused on making the bags, we began to heal from what happened to us,” says Karynda. “By mid-July, we... More

Dog is My Copilot

2016-05-24 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Brandon Tigrett
Writer Peni Long   With a magnanimous mission and a memorable name, Dog Is My Copilot (DIMC) has saved thousands of animals’ lives, flying abandoned pets to new furever homes across the country.   Combining their talents and a shared passion for helping the helpless and bringing hope and happiness to animals and families, DIMC co-founders Judy Zimet and Peter Rork have created a process to identify and retrieve unwanted animals in one part of the country and fly them to other states with a greater demand for adoptable pets. It’s a job that requires dedication, coordination and, of course, funding, but it’s one that has resulted in saving more than 4,000 animals since June 2012 — a number that is amazing in itself, but even more meaningful when compared to the estimated 10,000 animals euthanized daily across the United States because no one in their home area wants them.   For Zimet and Rork, it’s all about making a bigger dent against that number.   “By understanding... More

Meet the Osborn Family

2016-05-23 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Photo Credit: Photographer Jim Osborn
Writer Lara Piu     “I can’t believe that I almost lost the best thing that ever happened to me,” says Christy Osborn, referring to her husband, Jim.   Their 34-year comeback love story began on a USA Volleyball open division volleyball court in Oklahoma, where they were both competitive players. Christy had caught Jim's eye, but she had a boyfriend who attended every match. That fateful day, Christy showed up alone; Jim struck up a conversation with her and learned that they had broken up. After the match, they both attended a tournament party, but he found Christy surrounded by five guys.   “So I took her hand and said, ‘Let’s go for a walk,’” he recalls. On that walk, he told her, “I’m going to marry you some day.”   He stuck to his promise; Jim proposed, and the young couple married nine months later.   On their wedding day, Jim’s uncle advised, “Now Jimmy-Don, I am going to make you the same offer your dad gave to me,” in his... More

A Father's Medical Mission; Bill Krissoff

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


This year, Anthem’s always moving Memorial Day Ceremony at the Anthem Veteran’s Memorial will feature a keynote speaker with a story of uncommon family sacrifice. Retired U.S. Navy Cmdr. Bill Krissoff will share his remarkable story on May 30 at 10 a.m. at Anthem’s “A Day of Remembrance: Memorial Day Ceremony 2016.”   In December 2006, Krissoff and his wife, Christine, received the news every family of a service member dreads: their eldest son, 1st Lt. Nathan Krissoff, a Marine counterintelligence officer, had been killed by a roadside bomb while conducting combat operations near Camp Fallujah Army Base in Iraq. He was 25 years old.   Nathan had been a scholar athlete; he and his brother, Austin, both competed internationally with the U.S. Junior National Wildwater Kayak Team. He was an accomplished classical pianist, violinist and poet. He had been student body president at a demanding California prep school and earned a degree in political science from the highly... More

Rolling out the Red Carpet; 2016 Celebration of Excellence Awards

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration

The Carefree Cave Creek Chamber of Commerce rolled out the red carpet for its annual Celebration of Excellence Awards this past March. Always a much anticipated event, this year’s awards ceremony was hosted at Venues Cafe in the heart of Carefree’s downtown commercial district. Chamber members and the public saluted the finalists for Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year, who were recognized for their community contributions, as well as their promotion of goodwill within the local marketplace.    The Chamber’s 2016 honorees were selected by member peers along with a nominating committee. This year’s Business of the Year went to Michael Kennelly and Mark Waters of UPS, while the Volunteer of the Year recipient was Mick Ennis.    Kennelly and Waters own three UPS Stores in Cave Creek, Terravita and Carefree.    “It means everything to receive this award,” says Kennelly. “It’s incredibly flattering that other businesses think that highly of... More

National Park Service 100: Chelly Canyon

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


This year, the National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of preservation of land, animals and resources — and of providing opportunities to experience, explore and enjoy the 58 national parks and more than 400 public lands it administers. Twenty-two of these lands, including three national parks, are located in Arizona, and if ever there was a time to appreciate these unique gifts in our home state, this is it.   The centennial celebration is more than an acknowledgment of the past; it is recognition of the continuing achievements for our own generations, as well as for generations yet to be born. Through our national parks, we are creating an ongoing legacy that, no matter what technology or cultural changes occur, will allow future Americans to understand and feel for themselves the deep interdependence humans, in our most basic of elements, have with the rest of the natural living world.   To celebrate this remarkable achievement, our Images Arizona staff will be... More

A Century of Preservation - Grand Canyon

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


Writer Amanda Christmann   There is a very special anniversary this year and suffice it to say, it is one that affects all of us who love our beautiful state and who cherish the wild, untamed lands preserved for our enjoyment and for that of our children and grandchildren.    The National Park Service (NPS) celebrates 100 years of preservation of land, animals and resources — and of providing opportunities to experience, explore and enjoy the 58 national parks and more than 400 public lands it administers.    Twenty-two of these lands, including three national parks, are located in Arizona, and if ever there was a time to appreciate these unique gifts in our home state, this is it.   In 1916, at a time when industry was at the forefront of American growth and natural resources were often pillaged and exploited, the Organic Act was passed by forward-thinking legislators led by President Woodrow Wilson, which created the NPS “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic... More

Functional Art; HF Coors

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


It was my Aunt Millie, a resident of Oro Valley, who turned me on to HF Coors.   Located in Tucson, it may not look like much from the outside. But once you step over the threshold of this factory store, a kaleidoscope of colors, patterns and shapes are there to greet you. Millie doesn’t normally coo; but then, this is a happy place: with more than 50 patterns, countless colors and hundreds of styles to choose from, her reaction is warranted.   And while HF Coors may not be a household name, chances are you’ve encountered their dishware at eateries across the United States, including Fox Restaurant Concepts like True Food and North; resorts such as The Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain and Yosemite’s Ahwahnee Hotel; and retail shops at The Biltmore and Taliesin West. The company has designed dinnerware featuring the ranching brands of Cave Creek’s Cartwright’s and Tonto Bar and Grill. Ellen DeGeneres’ guests sip from HF Coors mugs. Ever shopped from the Uncommon Goods catalog?... More

Meet the Donatto Family

2016-05-01 | ImagesAZ | Inspiration


There’s nothing like a little spice to kick things up a notch in life. Terry Donatto found his “cayenne pepper of life” the moment he met his wife, Danielle, in Houston, Texas more than 15 years ago.   The feeling was mutual; Danielle knew the first time she saw Terry that he was the one.   “When I saw Terry at church, I turned to one of my friends and told her immediately that I was going to marry him,” she says. She was completing an internship based out of Terry’s church, where he was serving as a youth leader. The pair began dating in August 2000 and were married by November 2001.    “Her and I just clicked very fast,” says Terry. “She is so hilarious and different, and I loved how different she talked being from California.” Two months after they started dating, Terry asked Danielle to marry him.    “She is my cayenne pepper of life and I love every minute of it,” he says.    Shortly after they married, Danielle worked as a hair stylist and Terry... More