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Portraits

Steve Barrett

My I am Decatur project now has a dedicated website and Facebook page which is why I haven’t been posting the portraits on this blog. Yet, I felt compelled to post Steve Barrett’s portrait and share his moving story because he has an important message to share. December is often the month when we  become consumed with the demands of the holiday season. This is precisely a time when we should slow down to relish the beauty in each day.

In 1965, when Steve  was 18-years-old, he joined the army and volunteered to go to Vietnam. While Steve’s friends back home were going to drive-in movies and out on dates, he was fighting for his life and those of his buddies. “It taught me, don’t sweat the small stuff because there may not be a tomorrow. I had many buddies die and it taught me at age 19 that your life may not exist a moment from now.” Read more: http://www.iamdecatur.com/steve-barrett/

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Moody's Diner

After vacationing in Southwest Harbor, Maine, we traveled south along the coast to Waloboro before heading to Boston, our final destination. We had heard about Moody’s Diner  from various sources and were assured that it was worth the trip to Waloboro just to taste the blueberry pie. Moody’s Diner has been serving up “home-cooked “meals since 1927. It is still operated by the children, grandchildren, and great-grand children of the original owners, Percy and Bertha. And, the blueberry pie was amazing.

Maine Trip-1

The best places to eat fresh seafood in Maine are at these lobster shacks which are located right on the water. Most restaurants have their own boats which supply these shacks with live lobsters every day. The family in the picture above were obviously pros and well equipped to tackle lobster for lunch. They brought a picnic basket with a table cloth, plates, cups, cutlery and even a side  of homemade potato salad.

Maine Trip-2

As I mentioned in my last post, our stay at the Birches B&B in Maine was wonderful. Besides enjoying the fabulous breakfasts, the interior of the home was of interest. It showcased art created by family as well as locals. Susie Homer, the owner of the B&B, is a descendant of Winslow Homer, the famous 19th century landscape painter. She had his famous Breezing Up painting hanging above the fireplace but it was not an original. Susie did possess many of Wendell Gilley’s hand carved birds which graced many surfaces in the home. Wendell lived on Mount Desert Island, Maine and started out by carving two-inch birds for Abercrombie and Fitch. Susie’s grandmother was a friend of Wendell’s. Apparently, Wendell’s early attempts at carving birds were crude. In the attempt to help him, Susie’s grandmother and her friends would collect dead birds, wrap them in their handkerchieves, and carry them in their purses to Wendell. After careful inspection of these birds, Wendell’s carvings slowly became more refined and life-like. He ultimately  became  famous, and today hundreds of his beautiful bird carvings can be seen at the Wendell Gilley Museum in Southwest Harbor.

Wiley Roberson 2

Wiley Roberson at Lilly Hill Baptist Church in Decatur

I am Decatur, now has it’s own website at http://www.iamdecatur.com  This project is the result of a partnership between the Decatur Education Foundation, the Decatur Arts Alliance, and myself. Please visit the website to learn more. I am Decatur is an ongoing project and I will continue to post new portraits and stories over time.

 

Kurt Vogel

Kurt VogeI’s interest in computers began when he was in the fifth grade. “When my teacher had a problem with a computer I was often the one to help resolve the issue. From there on my passion grew. For my senior project at Decatur High School I helped to hook up a computer lab at the Central Outreach and Advocacy Center at Central Presbyterian Church. I really enjoyed that not only because it incorporated my passion for computers and information technology, but it also gave me a chance to show the homeless guests that they had someone who cared about them.”

Kurt is enrolled in Excel (Expanding Career, Education and Leadership Opportunities) at Georgia Tech. Excel is an innovative four-year program for students with mild intellectual and developmental disabilities. Advocacy training is an important component of the curriculum and is an avenue Kurt wants to pursue.

Kurt was born with a congenital neurological disorder causing right-sided weakness. His unique life experiences as a result of living with a disability are what have inspired him to become an advocate. “I’m someone who wants to utilize my skills, talents, and passion to positively impact the lives and career prospects of those living with a disability. Everyone with a disability has a contribution to make and that contribution should not be discounted just because they have a disability. The contribution that they have to offer is just as important and meaningful as the contributions that people without disabilities make.”