Monday, July 19, 2010

Roy Lesher: Volunteer Extraordinaire

Serving where needed is a way of life or Roy Lesher. He recently returned from ten days in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico where he worked with a team dispensing free eyeglasses to 2,498 patients, people who couldn’t afford to buy glasses for themselves. Roy, a member of the Lions and VOSH (Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity) plans to return to Mexico within a year, though to another location. The team’s future plans also involve Jamaica and El Salvador. The common link to both the Lions and VOSH is Helen Keller who inspired both organizations to serve the blind and conserve sight.

Born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1939, Roy attended school and college in his home state. He served with the U.S. Air Force from 1962 through 1985 and retired as Lt Colonel. Most of his military career was oversees–Taiwan, Korea, Spain, Turkey, and almost all countries in the Far and Middle East. He also served in the U.S. in Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, Virginia and Washington DC. While in Washington he served with the Pentagon and White House Communications Agency.

After leaving the military he received a Master’s Degree in International Studies and another Master’s in Business Administration. He worked for several years in the industrial pump field, and served as an International Tech Consultant. Finally, retiring a second time, Roy and his wife Sally moved to Camano Island, WA in 2004.

But “retired” isn’t exactly a fitting word for Roy. He continues to serve on numerous community organizations. Today he spends most of his volunteer time with the Stanwood Lions Club as Treasurer and Chairman of the Sight and Hearing Programs. Aha! So that’s the story behind Roy’s particular skill of sight screening! The Lions Club screens more than 2,100 school children throughout the district every year.

Roy Lesher is well known locally for his community on-line newsletter. I first heard of it when a friend e-mailed a copy to me. It has become the most reliable and timely way to learn about what’s going on in our community. Roy thoughtfully colors the new material in blue, but leaves the previous but still current news in black. Many organizations make their announcements through Roy Lesher’s newsletter.

When Roy isn’t serving the community, he spends time with family–he and Sally have five children and five grandchildren. He also follows his passion of genealogy, occasionally trekking to Salt Lake City, UT for research.

Our community is richer because of Roy Lesher. He serves for the love of it, for the love of his fellow man. When Roy says, “We’re always at our best when we’re helping people,” he really means it. He lives it.

To receive Roy’s newsletter, contact to be placed on his distribution list.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Mount St. Helens: Rising from the Dead

Much to everyone’s surprise, including scientists who have studied the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens extensively, a resurgence of life has returned to Mount St. Helens. The landscape has shifted dramatically from a gray, still and nearly barren panorama to an environment that is green, active and life-filled. The mountain’s return to vibrant life is a remarkable reminder of the power and beauty of nature.

When Mount St. Helens erupted thirty years ago, the landscape looked as though it would never support life again. The lateral blast left 234 square miles of standing-dead or blown-down forests, killing an estimated 10,000,000 trees. As the north face of the mountain collapsed, creating the largest landslide in U.S. history, wind and heat wiped out virtually all animal and plant life. An estimated 7,000 deer, elk and bear, and untold thousands of birds and small animals perished. The Toutle River grew so hot witnesses reported seeing fish jump out of the water to escape the heat.

Sparkling Spirt Lake, directly in the path of the blast, was pushed more than 800 feet up the side of a neighboring mountain by debris and came back down to rest several hundred feet higher than it was before, leaving all marine life eradicated.

Even outside the blast zone, a hot slurry of mud from the Toutle River churned over the land–taking with it huge trees, dozens of homes, and every living thing in its path.

How could this miracle of rebirth happen? The weight of wet snow packs and summer heat have effectively deteriorated the blown-down trees, making fertile ground for wind-blown seeds. The distinctive irregular surface of the landslide entraps runoff from rain and snow melt, forming new ponds and wetlands, spawning new life. The little pocket gophers survived the blast from their underground tunnels and continued feeding on roots, leaving droppings containing seeds along the way. Spiders blew in and birds followed to feast on the spiders. They, too, left rich droppings for future growth. Today, the downed forest in places is almost hidden by an assortment trees, shrubs, grasses, wildflowers and weeds, fodder for returning elk, deer and other animal life.

Even Spirit Lake has gone through a remarkable metamorphosis, returning to near pre-eruption conditions. The lake’s once cold, clear waters were transformed into a primordial soup, a rich broth of sediment and organic matter covered by a floating log mat. Bacteria populations exploded in these ideal conditions, cleansing the lake. Today, Spirit Lake hosts vibrant ecosystems and even trout, although scientists believe the fish were illegally introduced by visitors after the eruption.

Much of the recovery has been instigated by nature. However, employees of Weyerhaeuser, one of the largest pulp and paper companies in the world, planted 18,400,000 trees by hand in an effort to rebuild some of the forest after the blast. It took workers four years to complete the project.

The effects of the 1980 eruption are still very evident–the enormous crater is stark evidence of the magnitude of the event. From Johnston Ridge, named after geologist Dave Johnston who lost his life in the blast, visitors can see a close-up of the lava dome, crater, pumice plain, and the landslide deposit.

Mount St. Helens is witness to and a lesson in nature’s remarkable evolution. From a colorless, barren landscape to an array of color and life, the mountain again beckons visitors to its wild beauty. When was the last time you visited Mount St. Helens?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Guest: Paty Jager, Author of Doctor in Petticoats

My guest today is Paty Jager, Award-winning Western Romance author. She’s joined us today to share insights of her latest novel, Doctor in Petticoats. At the end of the blog, Paty tells us about her contest being held during this blog tour.

Welcome, Paty. Tell us about your work.

All of my Halsey brother books have a heroine with an occupation that at the time was male dominated. Doctor in Petticoats is set in Oregon in 1889 which was fifty years after the first woman, Elizabeth Blackwell, earned a degree from a U.S. medical school, there were still lots of prejudice against women as doctors both from male doctors and patients.

My editor and my critique partner both made comments when my heroine is considering if she should forgo motherhood to be a doctor. I read several books written by some of the frontier women doctors and they felt if they had children it would 1) take up time they would need to start a practice and 2) the possibility that they could bring home a disease to their own children. Several waited until their practices were well established before they had children and then they would only do obstetrics or scale down their practice. It was also felt by the male doctors that female doctors were too weak to control any sexual urges they might have toward male patients. As we all know the male is much weaker when it comes to that than females. But it was one of the major concerns of the male instructors in colleges, that women had too frail a constitution to handle crisis situations and resist their desires. Mothers for centuries have been dealing with far more than men.

Here are a few more stats on women physicians:
♥The Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania was the first women's medical college and it opened in 1850 with 40 students.
♥By 1860 there were about 200 women medical doctors in the U.S.
♥ In 1864 Rebecca Lee Crumbler became the first African-American woman to earn an MD and Mary Walter became assistant Surgeon General in the U.S. Army.
♥ In 1889 Susan La Flesche Picotte became the first Native-American
woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S.
♥In 1897 Eliza Ann Grier, an emancipated slave, became the first
African-American woman to practice medicine in Georgia.
Blurb for Doctor in Petticoats
After a life-altering accident and a failed relationship, Dr. Rachel Tarkiel gave up on love and settled for a life healing others as the physician at a School for the Blind. She's happy in her vocation--until handsome Clay Halsey shows up and inspires her to want more.

Blinded by a person he considered a friend, Clay curses his circumstances and his limitations. Intriguing Dr. Tarkiel shows him no pity, though. To her, he's as much a man as he ever was.

Can these two wounded souls conquer outside obstacles, as well as their own internal fears, and find love?

“I’m going to look in your other eye now.” She, again, placed a hand on his face and opened the eyelids, stilling her fluttering heart as she pressed close. His clean-shaven face had a couple small nicks on the edges of his angular cheeks. The spice of his shave soap lingered on his skin.

She resisted the urge to run her cheek against his. The heat of his face under her palm and his breath moving wisps of wayward hair caused her to close her eyes and pretend for a few seconds he could be her husband. A man who loved her and wouldn’t be threatened by her occupation or sickened by her hideous scar.

His breathing quickened. A hand settled on her waist, slid around to her back, and drew her forward. Her hand, holding the lens, dropped to his shoulder, and she opened her eyes. This behavior on both their parts was unconscionable, but her constricted throat wouldn’t allow her to utter the rebuke.

Clay sensed the moment the doctor slid from professional to aroused woman. The hand on his cheek caressed rather than held, her breathing quickened, and her scent invaded his senses like a warm summer rain.

Blog Tour Contest

This is my twelth blog on my fifteen blog/twelve day tour. Leave a comment and follow me to all the blogs on my tour and you could win an autographed copy of my June release, Doctor in Petticoats, a B&N gift card, and a summer tote filled with goodies. To find out all the places I'll be, go to my blog- to find the list.

Paty Jager
Award- Winning Western Romance Author