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y e y l e l l a l v a v t t o o o r o r r e r t e bbiitt t

hometown November 22 2017


2 - Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Volunteer drivers for Bitterroot Disabled American Veterans go the extra mile MICHELLE MCCONNAHA Ravalli Republic

Volunteer drivers for Bitterroot Disable American Veterans are Hometown Heroes. They were singled out by Dena Pate, the local area coordinator, who connects the volunteer drivers to shuttle veterans to and from their Veteran’s Administration approved medical appointments locally, in Missoula, and to Fort Harrison in Helena. “These are an amazing group of people, dedicated volunteers who go above and beyond,” Pate said. “Thank you to all our volunteer drivers who dedicate their time in helping our veterans. Our volunteer drivers include Wally Sept, Joe Rogish, Jeff Kinderman, Lorene Williams, Ralph ‘Mike’ Spangler, Eric Wells, Dennis Leonard, Rick Norman, Jim Chittick, Jim Steenberg, and Frank Rutke.” Pate said the volunteers serve cheerfully and faithfully. “They get up in the wee hours of the morning and sometimes drive in terrible weather,” she said. “It takes three hours one way to get to the Fort, they wait all day for the last veteran to finish up, and then bring them all back.” Pate said the Bitterroot DAV has two drivers from Missoula, one from Clinton, and several from Hamilton. She sets up the transport schedule based on veterans’ needs and when drivers are available. “The drivers are hometown heroes to a lot of our veterans who count on them,” Pate said. “Without them they wouldn’t have any way to get to their appointments. They should be acknowledged.” Pate also is a volunteer, who works out of her home. She coordinates the rides, the drivers pick up the veterans at a meeting place, and take them where they need to go. “Our drivers go everywhere,” she said. “Our drivers pick up veterans from the Bitterroot, Missoula, Bonner, and all the way to the Fort. We are the main people who drive to the Fort. If the veterans in Missoula need to go to the Fort they call me.” Veterans to get a ride can call 406-363-8396 or email bitterrootdav@gmail.com. Rides are available five days a week, if drivers are available. Volunteer Lorene Williams said she is honored by the Hometown Hero recognition.

“Volunteering for the DAV is a win-win situation,” William said. “As a retiree, it helps fill a void in my life; and on the other hand, I am helping male and female veterans get to their much-needed medical appointments be it Fort Harrison in Helena or the VA clinic in Missoula. I am a ‘fair weather’ driver so once snow hits the roads I am done until spring.” Volunteer Driver Rick Norman said, “It is a blessing to be involved in the lives of these veterans,” with his fellow volunteer Wally Sept noting that it’s “an honor and privilege” to serve veterans. Volunteer Driver Joe Rogish said that for him, it’s all about veterans helping their fellow veterans. Pate said the Bitterroot DAV is continually looking for more volunteer drivers, who should contact Pate to complete an application. Drivers must pass a physical and a fingerprint background check – all paid for by the Veteran’s Administration. The DAV provides the 11-passenger van or the five-passenger vehicle, plus gas and a meal at Fort Harrison. The number of drivers varies based on weather, snowbirds, or those who choose to only drive locally. “It’s all free; we just need a little bit of their time,” Pate said. “People can choose to drive as much or as little as they’d like, based on their availability and their schedule. We have some drivers that serve once a month, others that drive once a week, and one Missoula driver that drives when we need him – anytime he is available.” Jeff Kinderman said he started volunteering after reading about the need in the newspaper. “I quickly realized the need that area veterans had for transport exceeded the number of volunteer drivers,” he said. “Hopefully, media attention to this need will prompt more volunteerism.” Bitterroot DAV is also looking for a back-up coordinator, which would not entail driving. Pate said she volunteers because of the veterans’ service. “It is a true honor and privilege to be able to give back and help our veterans and their families as a way to show my deepest gratitude for their service and the sacrifices they have made,” she said. “Volunteering a little bit of my time to help veterans just seems so small compared to all they have done for each of us. Thank you to all our dedicated drivers who go above and beyond to transport our veterans, and thank you to all our veterans.”


Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 3

michelle mcconnaha/ravalli republic

Volunteer Drivers for Bitterroot Disable American Veterans Lorene Williams, Jeff Kinderman, Rick Norman, Dena Pate, Joe Rogish, and others are Hometown Heroes. They drive the vehicles with the slogan “Fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served.”

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4 - Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mimi Kalamian turns personal loss into a book to help others EVE BYRON Ravalli Republic

When Mimi Kalamian’s son Raffi died at the age of 13 from an aggressive brain tumor in 2013, she started writing a book. Actually, she started writing two books. One was about Raffi. The other was about a ketogenic diet that she stumbled upon, which slowed the progression of his tumor by limiting the amount of glucose made available – in a sense, starving the tumor. Most of the information about the ketogenic diet was somewhat difficult for the average person to understand, with its inaccessible scientific jargon about exogenous ketones and fermentation energy. So Kalamian set out to make it easy. provided photo

Keto for Cancer author Mimi Kalamain.


Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 5

But she also wanted to make it personal. “I knew people can relate to our story,” Kalamian said. “If this little guy can do it, this family can do it, why not give it a try?” So the two books became one, and “Keto for Cancer: Ketogenic Metabolic Therapy as a Targeted Nutritional Strategy” was recently released by Chelsea Green Publishing in Vermont to rave reviews. ‘“Keto for Cancer’ is a clear, concise, and invaluable resource that describes both the science and implementation of these metabolic therapies,” writes Jim Abrahams with The Charlie Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies. “Underlying it all is the heart of a mom who has experienced the ultimate tragedy and has chosen to give additional meaning to her son, Raffi’s, life.” Eugene Fine, a professor of clinical radiology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, added that ‘“Keto for Cancer’ is comprehensive and has appropriate cautions about the limits of the approach … It’s a complete how-to book for others in this terrible position and is imprinted with her love for her son.” Raffi’s tumor shrunk by 15 percent after he followed the diet for only three months. It’s a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that includes protein, and his mother believes it extended his life. For breakfast, Raffi liked to eat a boiled egg and a slice of apple. For lunch, he might enjoy meat sauce over Japanese noodles made from yams, plus chicken broth supplemented with highly refined coconut oil. For dinner he might have slices of cucumber and meat, followed by desserts he and his father, Peter Walsh, created involving cream cheese, heavy cream and sugar-free Jell-O. The diet dropped Raffi’s body mass index dramatically, and improved his overall quality of life, Kalamian said. The book includes recipes to make at home, as well as tips for when dining out, and even a section on troubleshooting. Although Raffi died, the book ends on an upbeat note about his one-year rally after being put in hospice care. “That last year of his life, he was this a little fountain of love,” Kalamian said. “It was such a tragic thing, but people would be smiling, encouraging him and loved being with provided photo him.” “Keto for Cancer is a clear, concise, and invaluable resource that describes both the science She’s also encouraged that the research into the benefits and implementation of these metabolic therapies,” writes Jim Abrahams with The Charlie of ketogenic metabolic therapies is expanding into a global Foundation for Ketogenic Therapies. effort of which Kalamian is a part. Yet with all Kalamian has done to help her son and others, she demurs the title of “Hometown Hero.” “I’m no hometown hero. My son is the hometown hero,” she said. “He is my hero.”


6 - Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017

MAPS Media Institute Executive Director Clare Ann Harff is an inspiration to all MICHELLE MCCONNAHA Ravalli Republic

Media Arts in the Public Schools (MAPS) Media Institute Executive Director Clare Ann Harff is a hometown hero, according to Ravalli County Fairgrounds Manager Cryss Anderson. “Clare Ann is doing a tremendous job, filling big shoes,” Anderson said. “She is not only carrying on the legacy of (MAPS Founder) Peter Rosten, but she has done so while working through the tumultuous grieving process. She has been faced with an uphill battle, and she is an inspiration to all of whom appreciate hard work and perseverance.” Anderson said Harff’s dedication keeps MAPS “thriving in our valley, and providing world-class opportunities for our youth.” The Media Arts in the Public Schools (MAPS) program teaches life skills around Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) using technology, design, film, music, and entrepreneurship. The classes are free to students in grades 8–12 in Ravalli

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MAPS Media Institute Executive Director Clare Ann Harff is a hometown hero.

County, three reservation sites, and the goal is to offer MAPS programming and opportunities across the state. Harff said she was humbled by the Hometown Hero award. “What a surprise and what a sincere honor,” Harff said. “It means a lot, especially with the whole team contributing to the work we do.” Harff said she is passionate about access to creative tools and inspiring people - what she calls “fundamental ingredients to a healthy, vibrant community.” She said creativity is a deep source of her personality and purpose. “It’s available to us in everything: whether you’re a visual artist, writer, educator, scientist, parent, day-dreamer - whatever your role. Creative thinking and collaboration are critical to any community’s economic success,” Harff said. “They can generate both personal and community pride, create a sense of belonging and purpose and help us remember we all share responsibility in creating ‘our community’ whether it’s our small rural town or our nation.” Harff moved to Montana in 1992 because of a kiln at the University of Montana. “At that time, the University of Montana was one of the only western universities with a Japanese style woodfire kiln,” Harff said.


Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 7

“I dedicated many years to learning that process with an amazing group of talented artists.” After she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramic Arts, Harff co-founded The Clay Studio of Missoula (CSOM) in 1998 with her friend Rob Taylor. She served as executive director for the first five years and continued as an active board member until 2013. CSOM is celebrating 20 years in 2018 and is a recognized arts leader in Montana and across the country. Harff also was a founding partner of 4 Ravens - a collaborative gallery located in the heart of downtown Missoula. “Artists and entrepreneurs share many similar traits – determined independence, risk takers, and the drive to turn an idea into a reality,” Harff said. In 2000, Harff moved to Corvallis to start a family, and build a home and studio. For the next 13 years, she owned and operated Blue Horse Pottery, was a visiting artist in several Bitterroot Valley schools, an active member in the Hamilton Farmer’s Market Co-op, and a dedicated community artist-activist. In 2013 her life took an unexpected turn when Peter Rosten hired her to join the staff at MAPS Media Institute. She contributed her experience in non-profit art management and arts education in the public schools. “Peter observed me teaching and interacting with students over the years,” Harff said. “While he originally hired me to teach the design program at MAPS, my responsibilities quickly grew.” Harff was promoted to program director in 2015 and executive director in 2016. “Peter was not only my business partner, we were kindred spirits,” she said. The MAPS Media Institute’s unique curriculum fosters creativity and builds communication skills by providing rigorous, hands-on, and creative opportunities to equip students for academic, social, and professional success. Glenda Wiles, Ravalli County DUI Task Force Coordinator, said when MAPS started its media arts program, the Ravalli County DUI Task Force was their first public service video production aired on local television. “Since then we have partnered in many video productions,” Wiles said. “The students excelled under the direction of founder Peter Rosten, and now we see first-hand how the program continues to excel under the leadership of Clare Ann Harff. Peter picked good – because Clare Ann is firmly committed to the programs MAPS has in our community.”

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8 - Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Katrina Smith is a “mama bear” for her mental health clients EVE BYRON Ravalli Republic

When Kari Auclair is brewing her morning coffee at 6 a.m., chances are she’s also exchanging work-related emails to Katrina Smith, who already is at work at the Western Montana Mental Health Center in Hamilton. Smith is an adult case manager, with a passion for helping her clients navigate the sometimes frustrating world of mental health care. “She has the spirit of ‘How can I help you?’ which is the culture of our work here at Western,” said Auclair, the facility’s executive director. “Her clients know they are in good hands, and that she will guide them, lead them, and support them with compassion. “It takes a special person to work the role Katrina is working. A lot of people over the years lose their passion. No Katrina. She is inspired.” Smith started working in 2005 as a community-based rehabilitation aid, where she “helped get people out of the house,” by taking them shopping for groceries or other necessities. When that program was discontinued, she started her current job about six or seven years ago. “I was doing home help and someone who used to work for this agency encouraged me to apply,” she said. “I knew nothing about mental health.” She was a quick learner, however. “I used to say we’re all clients in one way or another,” she said. “My co-workers would tell me that I needed a vacation, but now you hear that everywhere.” But don’t call it a work. Smith clearly loves helping other people, with her eyes lighting up as she speaks generally about what she does. “Well, this morning I met with someone who filed the appropriate paperwork for Social Security, which was denied; their address just recently changed,” she said. “I helped them address that, we filed out forms for public assistance, and applied for a job. “I love it. I was in the system as a single mom with three girls, so I know what it’s like.”


Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 9

provided photo

Katrina Auclair is the adult case manager at Western Montana Mental Health Center in Hamilton.

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Thank You Local Hometown Heroes She laughs, noting how everyone calls her “Mama Bear” because she defends her clients so strongly. “They’re my little family,” she said. “When all my kids left home, this place became my family.” It can be a frustrating job, since the system doesn’t always see people as individuals, and if the wrong box is checked on a form, or if paperwork is lost, the impacts can be enough to make a person lose their home, job or income. But more often, it’s a rewarding job. She recalls three families, who were former clients, who call her around Christmas. “They want to update me on their lives and how well they’re doing,” she said. “All the clients are so thankful for our help, and for somebody to be there.” And Smith is that perfect someone, Auclair said. “I haven’t had one client of Katrina’s say she put less than 150 percent in the game,” Auclair said. “Many of them have severe diagnosis of mental illness, and she’s kept them out of the state hospital and jail. She keeps people in their homes, and in doing so she saves taxpayers’ money.”

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10 - Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017

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Hometown Hero Judy Williams is the manager of Haven House, Hamilton’s food pantry.

We Salute Judy Williams gives all Bitterroot personal attention Hometown Hereos ! as a Haven House volunteer Thank you for making a difference and inspiring our everyday lives

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Haven House Board Members Ellen Holleman Jane Samuelson, and reporter Michelle McConnaha by

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Judy Williams is someone who has made, and continues to make, a real difference in the Bitterroot Valley. Years ago, when Williams moved to Hamilton with her family, she began to volunteer her time, enthusiasm, and ability in order to serve the community. Her strong political beliefs led her to become an active member of the League of Women Voters,


Ravalli Republic, Wednesday, November 22, 2017 - 11

where she served both as a board Williams’ response to being member and as president. awarded a Hometown Hero was Williams has had a lifelong love humble. of classical music. She attends live “That’s really nice, that is really performances as often as possweet,” Williams said. sible and listens daily to opera, She said Haven House strives symphonic, and chamber music. to serve. Along with several other avid “Our organization is great musicians and appreciators, she because we have loyal volunstarted the Daly Mansion Concert teers willing to work as volunSeries and ran it for some time teers,” Williams said. “They are with Marshall Bloom. Williams really good and kind people remains a committed supporter that makes it all worthwhile.” of many non-profit and arts orgaWilliams called Haven House nizations throughout the valley. a “team effort.” She also loves animals, both “We couldn’t do it without big and small. Her interest in the 24 people who come in birds and birders caused her to michelle mcconnaha/ravalli republic every week to work for us and become the long-time memberthe community,” she said. “It is The Haven House Food Bank at 316 N 3rd St. #162 in Hamilton. ship chairperson for the Bitterroot the community that makes this Audubon Society. work. It’s the community that Although all of these endeavors have led to the betterment of supports us, we wouldn’t be here if the community wasn’t so our community, Williams perhaps is best known for her current wonderful, they make it possible. I don’t take any credit.” role as manager of Haven House, Hamilton’s food pantry. She began work at the all-volunteer food bank Nov. 1, 2003. At that time, she was the manager/director/president. Six years later, as the work increased, this position was divided into president and Thank you To our local heroes! manager/director, the latter assignment being the one that she still holds. Any time that the doors to Haven House are open, Williams is there. Despite rain, snow, and sub-zero temperatures, she has not missed even one year of distributing Thanksgiving boxes. Her regular duties are many and varied. In addition to implementing the policies and procedures established by the Board, she is responsible for managing all of the day-to-day activities of Haven 1010 w. main sT. hamilTon. (406) 363-2010 House. She coordinates the staff of approximately 30 volunteers and deals with organizational issues as they arise. She keeps informed about all of the rules and regulations governing food banks across Montana and the country. These are difficult and important responsibilities, but perhaps even more crucial is the personal attention that Williams devotes to the Haven House clients. Her interest in their well-being helps her to assist them in getting not only food, but other services as Locally Owned & Operated for over 25 years. well. Those fortunate enough to work with Judy are continually amazed at her intelligence, compassion, and boundless energy. Tom & Carron Grymes . Bill & Judy Rothie If the description of a Hometown Hero is someone who goes above and beyond the call of duty for our community, then certainly Judy Williams is the epitome of a Heroine.

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Bitterroot Valley Hometown Heroes 2017  

Bitterroot Valley Hometown Heroes 2017  

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