This year ends on a happy note

Writing a human interest column is similar to taking a snapshot. It captures a person at a particular point in time, but cannot show what bigger and better things the person might do in the future. Fortunately, I manage to stay in touch with a lot of the wonderful people I write about and I thought for my last column of the year, I'd focus on how far some of them have moved forward.

Genie Quinn, the Suwanee mom inspired by her daughter's cancer, who took on Team In Training triathlons at age 57, is still riding and running. But she's added more to her schedule.

"My real mission these days is to eradicate blood cancers by bringing awareness to the general public," Quinn said. "I am also heading up a Pennies for Patients campaign at Mason Elementary in January 2009. This campaign sponsored by the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society encourages school age children to save their coins and donate them to the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society."

Fran Stewart, the green mystery writer from Hog Mountain has added a radio show to her repertoire. Beginning in January she'll be hosting an Internet radio show called "Mystery Matters: Where Murder is an Open Book." On Friday mornings at 10 a.m., she'll be interviewing mystery writers, delving into why they write, where they get their ideas and what they want to accomplish with their books.

John Williams, the Parkview ROTC cadet who brought national fame to Parkview High School with his orienteering skills has done it again, only in a bigger and better way. Williams now claims the national first place title in an advanced level of the sport.

Kody, the ultra-abused dog that Dr. Hamryka at Sugar Hill Animal Hospital spent months rehabilitating, found a loving family to provide for him a wonderful life.

Speaking of a wonderful life, it is in past tense that I write about Bill Hargrave. Mr. Hargrave had two claims to fame. He was both the oldest active bowler and the oldest documented World War II veteran in the world. This upbeat gentleman, who spent his military career cheering up the troops with his Army band, departed this world quietly on the eve of his 107th birthday.

On a happier note, Gretchen Swanson, whom I wrote about over five years ago when she was singing in high school musicals at Brookwood, just graduated summa cum laude with a degree in music from the University of Georgia. And she sang the alma mater at her commencement ceremony. And she'll begin her teaching career at Mountain Park Elementary School in January.

What an upbeat way to wrap up the year, both for Gretchen and for me.

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.