Norma Bonaparte is a Certified Medical Assistant working with assisted living. She also does respite care for cancer patients, sometimes caring for them through to their death. People don’t want to be alone and “can be so scared,” she said of her patients near death. She enjoys “being able to help people that appreciate your help.”
Donald Maglio, 58, a native of Waukegan, Illinois, spent much of his life in Los Angeles, California raising and training reptiles and insects for both the TV/Movie industry and educational shows for schools. He moved to Missouri to help his mother and is hoping that in a year he will have the money saved up to purchase the necessary permits to move his 95 reptiles and nearly 300 insects and arachnids here. His passion though is the Star Trek roleplaying game he has been playing since he was a 10 year old boy. The game now has 300,000 - 400,000 members worldwide carrying out missions in a fictional Star Trek universe. It took him 40 years to go from a cadet to a 3 star admiral. He is also Director of Starfleet Operations and the Commander of Starbase 8 where he has been stationed for 30 years.
Brandon Wilder bartends at the 9th St Public House. He studied Russian and German at the University of Missouri. He started out in math, but after finding it too isolating he switched. “In my head math is a language, so it’s exactly the same skill set.”
Josh Webster, 32, graduated from the University of Missouri in 2013 with a major in women and gender studies before moving back to his hometown of Kansas City. He started out as a vocal music major but after 3 years, was told he still had another 3 years to graduate. “If I’m gonna go that much longer, I’m gonna spend it studying something else,” he said, so he switched to his minor. He had picked women and gender studies as a minor because he had a wife and daughter and wanted to understand them more. He and his wife have since divorced. He moved back to Columbia in April hoping to start back in music.
Kyah Cook, 18, is in her first year of studying film at Stephen’s College, working toward her dream of being a director of photography. Her interest in film began when she attended the Binning Family Foundation Film School in her hometown of Littleton, Colorado when she was in 7th grade. She has been volunteering at the film school since her freshman year in high school, often working with film school camps for troubled youth.
Tim Poindexter, originally from Wellsville, Missouri, moved to Columbia 10 years ago. He was a surgical nurse at the time but now works for the city doing IT. He picked up motorcycling as a hobby five years ago and is on his second bike, a Honda ST1300, which he often takes on multi day road trips. He is thinking of getting a bigger bike though for a trip to Alaska.
Xinting Liu, 20, is a freshman sociology major at the University of Missouri from Tianjin, China. She finds her new surroundings to be a place of “peace and beautiful.”
“My family does not like me,” she said. “I came here to escape my family.”
Ann Quarels has been homeless since she lost her job 2 years ago. She had been working at Hardees for 10 years. “I got fired for complaining too much, but if there’s a line of 10 people and someone is on the side texting on their phone, I’m gonna complain.” Her children live with her ex husband in Kansas City. She is hoping she and her boyfriend can find a job before winter so they can have a roof over their head when the cold sets in.
Michael Thornton, 65, is a Columbia, Missouri native but traveled extensively after he joined the army at 20. He was a ham radio, morse code, and radio teletype operator while in the army and was stationed in Seoul, South Korea from 1970-1972, a place he called “a best kept secret.” His favorite place though is the South which he appreciates for its realness. Here, he said, you are often left wondering what people think, but in the South you can be “walking down the street and get a look [that says] ‘Fuck you, I’m not scared of you’” and then both parties keep on their way.
Aareahna Kelley, 8, is in third grade at Benton Elementary School in Columbia, Missouri. Her favorite subject is math, because of all the numbers, and she likes recess a lot because “you get to run around and see nature.”
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