Fourteen years ago I wrote my first Neighbors column. Today I write my last. Vicky and Abigail Daniels, my daughter and granddaughter, will take my place.
Thank you to everyone who has shared news with me and contributed to this column. Thank you to everyone at the Peninsula Clarion for working with me. Thank you readers. I have appreciated your feedback.
I would be remiss if I did not also thank the Lord who has been my help. I pray that the same grace, mercy and faithfulness, which I have received from my Savior, be extended to each of you dear neighbors.
Sunday was my husband's last day in the pastorate of Calvary Baptist Church. The church family held a special farewell service for their pastor of 15 years. As a surprise, they brought Ray and Joy Ruetz up from Arizona to pay a tribute to Ron. They had been co-missionaries with us in Japan and have remained dear friends throughout these many years.
Written tributes came from others from past ministries in Tokyo and Hokkaido, Japan; Littleton, N.H; and Haines and Hoonah. Our oldest son was able to come from Greenville, S.C., for the special day making it possible for five of nine siblings to be here.
The church welcomes Kit Pherson as its new pastor.
We do not know exactly what is in store for us, but we are confident that the Lord will continue to direct our steps and care for us as he has so faithfully done these many years.
Welcome back to the neighborhood John and Cindy Van Wezel. John and Cindy were married in Galena in January 1997. They moved to Arizona in 2002 and moved back to Alaska in 2004, where they made their home in Seward.
They have a son, John Jr., who is nearly 4. In March they moved back to Ninilchik and said they are glad to be back home.
Cindy is the daughter of Chester and Honora Cook and graduated from Ninilchik High School in 1994.
Congratulations to Rod Van Saun on his marriage to Kate Alexander in Bertram, Texas, on Dec. 12, 2004. I enjoyed a short visit with Kate last week. Make sure to welcome Kate to the neighborhood when you see her. You'll know her because she will be with Rod and I think everyone knows him.
This week my spotlight is on graduating senior Connor James David Cooper. He has been a student at the school his entire school career. He likes basketball, dirt biking and working on his truck. He has held jobs in commercial fishing and construction. Welding has been his favorite class in school. He has been on the all-tourney basketball team the last two years, as well as being the leading scorer. This year he was awarded the most valuable player and team assistant leader. He has learned that not everything goes the way you want.
He says, "Deal with it and try for the next one." He said he is thankful for the support, kindness and memories throughout his school years of which he says, "Soon this will all be one big memory and I'm sure nothing can top this."
He plans to play college basketball at Linn-Benton College in Oregon. His advice to underclassmen is "Sit back, grit your teeth and just say okay."
There will be a Community Wildfire protection plan meeting 1 p.m. at the Ninilchik Senior Center on Wednesday. This is an opportunity for business owners, land owners, home owners, local government and others to direct projects and list priorities within their community relative to (but not limited to) four categories. The categories are wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, or structure protection. If you see areas in your community that you think are priority for treatment, here's your change to say so. Attend this meeting or visit www.kenai.ene.com to have your say.
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