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Issaquah, Washington
January 14, 2009     The Issaquah Press
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SECTION B THE ISSAQUAH PRESS COMMUNITY WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 14 2009 CONTRIBUTED Matt Moeller, Tara Thorsvlk, Sabah Vafaeezadeh, Sarah Lowe, Leah Parker and Tavon Center Activities and Programs Director Megan Wegner (from left) enjoy a fall outing at Cougar Mountain Zoo. A transition center of opportunity ONTHEWEB Learn more about the Tavon Center at www.tavoncenter.org. BY MEGAN WEGNER Sabah Vafaeezadeh, Tara Thorsvlk, Leah Parker and Matt Moeller (from left) decorate pumpkins in the garden for the Tavon Center's Halloween party. Tavon Center offers a cozy learning space for young adults with disabih'ties BY REBECCA STEELE hree days a week, Leah Parker cooks, gar- dens and cares for animals at the Tavon Center in Issaquah. She also gets to hang out with her friends. Parker, 25, joined the center earlier this fall to take part in its new program. Located in Issaquah, the center is for young adults with mental and/or physical disabilities. So far, Leah, who has a physical disability, has found the program both enjoyable and beneficial. It's a place where she feels comfort- able and can further her general life skills. The Tavon Center, 24017 S.E. Black Nugget Road, opened in September and has spent the last few months getting its feet on the ground. But, it is now ready and looking for more youn adults between the ages of 18 to 45 to join mere. The program is designed to help people with disabilities make the transition from school to work. The Tavon Center offers training in transferable skills with the ultimate goal of readying those who are able for jobs in the community. Sue Parker, mother of Leah, feels that the program has been a great success. "The Center is wonderful for Leah in many ways, but it has definitely been great for her socially because it allows her to socialize wi other people who are of a similar age to her, said Parker. Parker also feels there are many great op- portunities for Leah to feel a sense of accom- plishment while attending the center due to many hands-on opportunities. She loves to cook at the center. She picks in- tedients from the garden for her cooking and en makes something to eat and shares with the others," said Parker. Parker feels that anyone who has an adult child with special needs should 10ok into the Tavon Center and arrange a time to visit. "We went there with Leah and then let her decide - she just loved the Center and everyone there," said Parker. Parker first became interested in the Tavon Center years before it opened while talking to the director and founder, Therese Vafaeezahdeh. At this stage the program was only an idea. Vafaeezahdeh and her husband first thought about such a program while considering the fu- ture of their own daughter, Sabah, who has a disability. "My husband and I were thinking about what Sabah could do when she graduated from high school - and so our daughter was my in- spiration for this organization," said Vafaeeza- hdeh. After speaking with other parents of children with disabilities, Vafaeezahdeh started fund raising for the Tavon Center in 2003. The word Tavon was chosen for the organization because it means ability in Farsi, the langnage spoken in [ran, Vafaeezahdeh s husband and Sabah s fa- ther is from Iran and so they chose the word Tavon because they wanted to emphasize that everyone can do ,tlins, therefore it doesn't mat- ter if everyone isn t able to do the same things. "Since 2003, we raised between $250,000 to $300,000 from auctions alone," said See TAVON CENTER, Page B3 Retired Marine thanks military for his education BY JEFF RICHARDS he U.S. military is most commonly asso- ciated with strict train- ing and life-or-death combat. But for retired marine Col. Bruce F. Meyers, the hallmark of his long and distin- gnished military career was the extensive education he received, preparing him for life in and out of service. After 28 years in the Marines, Meyers retired ,from the service with a bachelor s degree and a law degree. He used his educa- tion to help innovate the Marines and work to, as he put it, "save lives." "The GI Rill is one of the best things that could have happened to give the opportunity of educa- tion to all these people who had busted their tails on behalf of the U.S.," Meyers said. "We had peo- ple who would have never had the opportunity to go to college had they never had the GI Bill. He served briefly in the Pacific near the end of World War II and then in Korea as a leader for Ko- rean line crossers and then as a rifle company commander. But it wasn't until after the Korean War that he would leave his last- ing mark on the Marines. On June 18, 1957, Meyers took command of the Marines first force reconnaissance team, the 1st Amphibious Reconnaissance Co. His team was tasked with delving deep into enemy territory to gather intelligence and posi- tioning on the enemy for Amer- ica's front-line troops. It was the first American military outfit of its kind. "We were young, educated. We were the cream of the crop," Meyers said. "We wanted to be with an elite unit, and we were elite. The rest of the Marines got upset when we said we were the best of the best." The unit still exists, under the name Marines Special Opera- tions Command. Meyers did most of his deep See METERS, Page B4 BY GREG FARRAE Bruce Meyers holds a shadow box displaying his medals from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. On Meyers' wall are a framed book cover from 'Fortune Favors the Brave' and a painting titled 'Up From The Sea In Subs; which became cover art for 'Swift, Silent and Deadly; Meyers' second book. Father, son heading to historic Barack Obama inauguration BY DEBORA SPENCER PHOTOGRAPHY Rob Sargent, of Newcastle, with President-elect Barack Obama at a June 1, 2007, Iundraising reception at the Seattle Westin Hotel. BY JIM FEEHAN aking a campaign contribution to Obama's campaign: $25. Attending a 2007 Seattle fundraising reception for Obama: $500. Spending father-son time at Obama's inauguration: priceless. Next week, a Maywood Middle School student and his father will make a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., to capture a glimpse of his- tory in the making. Kyle Sargent, 13, and his father Rob will attend Barack Obama's swearing-in as the 44th president of the United States. "I'm looking forward to staying in a luxul,, hotel and no school for a week, Kyle said. The experience will be both edu- cational and provide ample father- son time, Rob said. "I'm looking forward to being part of an historic event and cele- brating with others that worked hard to help Obama get elected," said Rob, an elected precinct committee officer in the 41st Leg- islative District and an area coor- dinator in his hometown of New- castle. "I'm also looking forward to the educational value for my son. I've already made him read the Constitution and tested him on it." Kyle and Rob, 48, an owner of a printing company with operations in Seattle and Redmond, will not be alone. An event of unprece- dented significance is expected to attract a crowd of unprecedented size. Organizers predict as many as 2 million people will crowd the National Mall on Inauguration Day. By comparison, about 400,000 people attended George W. Bush's inauguration in 2005. Lyndon R. Johnson's inaugura- tion drew a record 1.2 million people in 1965. In addition to working on cam- paigns for Obama, Gov. Chris Gre- goire and 8th District Congres- sional candidate Darcy Burner, Rob hosts an informal progressive social group, Drinking Liberally, that meets monthly at a restaurant in Newport Hills to discuss poli- tics. While in Washington, D.C., the Sargents will also attend a party for liberal bloggers. Obama has sparked an unprece- dented spirit of civic engagement with his inspiring speeches and call to service, Rob said. "A lot of people got involved with the Obama campaign that hadn't previously participated, and I think that led to his winning both the primary and the general elec- tion," he said. As an assignment for school, Kyle will compile a diary of his trip to D.C. Witnessing the inaugura- tion of the first black president will be a lifelong, cherished memory for Kyle, Rob said. "It may not have much signifi- cance now, but I think it will have much significance for him later in life, he said. Nearly a half-century ago, an- other young senator burst out onto the national stage. He, too, was lit- fie tested and idealistic. "I know if I'd been at the Kennedy inauguration, it would have been something that would have been a special memory my entire life," Rob said. Reach Reporter Jim Feehan at 392-6434, ext. 239, or ffeehan@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquah- press, com. :: : ::::=5 : t II'IIIII IIIIi !II III IIIII 'IIIIIIIII I i I t 'A+i.i". ..... Ir _ +KJtlIILL ..... ' =.'' i I' '_ .......... i