A bit of thanks from Tucsonans

2013-11-24T00:00:00Z 2014-07-03T10:49:18Z A bit of thanks from TucsonansBy Kathleen Allen | Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 24, 2013 12:00 am  • 

With the exception of perfecting the turkey, Thanksgiving is a no-pressure holiday. No gifts to give, no expectations dashed, nothing to do but glory in family and friends.

And to pause and give thanks.

While times are difficult for many, most of us can find something to be thankful for. We asked a few Tucsonans what it is for them.

Michael Kasser

Kasser is founder and president of Holualoa Cos., a real estate investment and development firm he founded in Kona, Hawaii, in 1985, and brought with him when he moved to Tucson in 1994. Many credit the 72-year-old with leading the charge to get Arizona Theatre Company back on its financial feet.

Alfred Quiroz

Quiroz, 69, is an art professor at the University of Arizona, where he has taught for more than 25 years. His narrative art frequently explores political subjects and the colorful works are often laced with historical context and social outrage.

Brian Flagg

Flagg, 59, was a California surfer boy before he decided to take his life in a different direction. He has been an advocate for the poor and homeless through the Casa Maria Soup Kitchen for 30 years, where food and clothing are provided for those in need.

Moises Orozco

Orozco is an artist specializing in metal works and an avid volunteer with Tucson’s annual All Souls procession. In early October, Orozco — who dismisses questions about his age — fell off the roof of his studio into a sculpture garden and fractured several bones in his face, lost a few teeth and dislocated a knee. Still recovering, he managed to walk in this year’s parade.

Marian Lupu

Lupu founded the Pima Council on Aging and now is a tireless volunteer with Dancing in the Streets Arizona, founded by her daughter and son-in-law, Soleste Lupu and Joseph Rodgers. Though 88, she hasn’t slowed down: She goes to the Dancing in the Streets studio six days a week, more than five hours each day.

Gabriel Ayala

Ayala, 40, has played classical guitar professionally for 25 years, and has performed around the world. The member of the Yaqui people (he is thankful for hiapsiwame, which means life) is an advocate for education and recently signed on as the artistic director of the Whistle Stop.

Vanessa Romero

Romero is a lifelong Tucsonan with a big heart for animals, especially dogs. The 31-year-old is a senior procurement specialist at Tucson Electric Power, an active volunteer with SAFE (Saving Animals From Euthanasia) and manages a “full house” of five dogs.

Lupita Murillo

Murillo has been reporting the news for KVOA-TV for 35 years. Though she has long called Tucson home, she’s a “born and bred” Texan, hailing from the Rio Grande Valley in the southern part of the state.

Cassandra Galvez

Galvez, 18, is a freshman at the University of Arizona. The native Tucsonan is majoring in chemical engineering with the hopes of someday working in a biofuels lab or in some other environmental-based arena.

Rose Voyles

Voyles, 15, is a sophomore at Salpointe Catholic High School. She was born in China, but moved to Tucson when she was adopted at 1. She has definite plans for the future: “I want to become a mechanical engineer and then volunteer a lot and help out others.”

Lee D. Lambert

Lambert took over as chancellor at troubled Pima Community College in July. The 50-year-old lawyer was a president at a Washington state community college before he accepted the PCC job. A top agenda item is getting the school off of academic probation.

Virginia Reyes

Reyes is a librarian in special collections at the University of Arizona Library, where she curates materials relating to the Southwest borderlands. She was with the New York Public Library before she joined the UA in 2000.

Contact reporter Kathleen Allen at kallen@azstarnet.com or 573-4128.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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