At the end of each year, The Spokesman-Review and its readers select area residents who have made a difference in the previous 12 months. In 2021, a year burdened with challenges, we looked to the people who helped keep us healthy, fed, educated and safe.
This past summer, Rick Desautel stopped alongside a road near Vallican, British Columbia, and gave a prayer to all the members of his tribe who had fought for decades for the Canadian government to recognize a simple fact: They still exist.
Jake Dickert, 38, provided stability when Washington State’s football program needed it, so WSU returned the favor. Dickert’s dues-paying path toward his career goal reached its end in Pullman. Dickert landed his first head coaching gig, at last finding a permanent home after more than a decade as a roving assistant.
A common theme emerges when talking with Spokane residents who have been beneficiaries of No-Li Brewhouse owners John and Cindy Bryant’s community efforts: The Bryants give selflessly, generously and extensively, casting as wide a net as possible in their philanthropy.
The COVID-19 vaccine campaign in northeastern Washington started with a road trip. About a year ago on a snowy winter night, Dr. Sam Artzis and Aaron Edwards, CEO of Ferry County Hospital, drove to Tonasket to get extra Pfizer vaccine doses at the hospital there.
Last summer, Roberta Wilburn was enjoying the perks of her new life as a retired educator, wrapping up a 13-year stint at Whitworth University. She steadied her newest endeavor as the founding president of an independent consulting organization she shares with her husband, James.
Kylie Kingsbury and Kira Lewis have spearheaded the Spokane Regional Health District’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the homeless community, working to ensure access to testing and vaccines for people living in shelters or on the street.
Steve Gleason says he feels the best he has felt in several years. Coming up on 11 years since he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the 44-year-old Spokane native said it’s been a while since he has been in the hospital for any illness or sickness.
Born with a mind fit for business just as much as art, founder and executive artistic director of the Spokane Valley Summer Theatre Yvonne A.K. Johnson knew early on that when it came to theater, she was happiest in the director’s chair.
Spokane Police Sgt. Zac Storment and Brittany Wright, a forensic DNA scientist, joined forces earlier this year to identify the killer of Candy Rogers, a 9-year-old slain in 1959. They're now hoping to inspire a new generation of sleuths to take a look at evidence that may be degrading on shelves in police departments' evidence rooms.
Over the past 20 years, Ochoa-Bruck's served as both a prosecutor and a defense attorney, worked as Mayor David Condon's point-person on criminal justice reform and in November of this year was elected as one of the city's three municipal judges.
Chris Bovey is having the last laugh. While toiling as art director of The Inlander, Bovey developed an art tourism concept that was presented to Visit Spokane in 2015. “I had this idea of a poster series on Spokane that I thought could highlight how unique and cool it is here,” Bovey said from his Medical Lake studio.