Jeff Lewis: Captain of the Arizona Ghostbusters

Jeff Lewis of the Arizona Ghostbusters, photographed at Samurai Comics in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Jeff Lewis of the Arizona Ghostbusters, photographed at Samurai Comics in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Jeff Lewis
twitter.com/AZ_Ghostbusters

Nope, the Arizona Ghostbusters aren’t just a bunch of super-fans of the classic movies — the group with 20 members, with its very own Ecto-1 recreated car, dresses up in costumes from the movies and donates time and money at local events throughout the year — so far, they’ve donated more than 800 hours of their time. Catch the group at the 2013 Phoenix Heart Walk this Saturday, March 23. Captain and Phoenix resident Jeff Lewis, 29, who works in real estate documentation at Wells Fargo, talked to Phoenix People about why he loves his time as an Arizona Ghostbuster and gave five reasons why he loves living in the Valley, too.

What brought you to Arizona?

I had some family here, and I’m from Mooresville, Indiana, whose only claim to fame is that it’s the hometown of John Dillinger. The economy was starting to turn back home, where you basically work in a farm or factory, because there’s not much else. I saw a lot more opportunity here and came out here a few times and fell in love with it. I moved out here in December 2003. Continue reading

Sara McClellan: Author of ‘The World Needs Hope’

Sara McClellan, author of 'The World Needs Hope,' photographed in downtown Gilbert, by Nicki Escudero

Sara McClellan, author of ‘The World Needs Hope,’ photographed in downtown Gilbert, by Nicki Escudero

Sara McClellan
twitter.com/worldneedshope

For some people, uncertainty and loss can be debilitating. For Sara McClellan, she chose to turn hard times into a positive message anyone can benefit from, by writing and self-publishing the recently released book, The World Needs Hope. The 36-year-old Gilbert resident, with about 20 years of professional writing experience, crafted 19 chapters of how hope can be interpreted, with a desire to inspire readers to integrate hope more into their own lives. The book also features art by 20 contributors, all who have lived in Arizona, who visually showed what hope means to them. In addition to writing and editing a blog related to the book  at www.theworldneedshope.com, McClellan will be releasing book-related merchandise starting Thursday, January 31. She talked about her inspiration for the book, what she hopes people take away from it, and why she loves living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

My father was relocated for a job, so we moved in high school, having never been in Arizona. My grandparents were here, and it was an opportunity to start completely fresh in a new climate. I was born in Wisconsin. Continue reading

Patrick Battillo: Mr. ORNG, Phoenix Suns Super-Fan

Patrick Battillo, Phoenix Suns super-fan Mr. ORNG, photographed at US Airways Center in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Patrick Battillo, Phoenix Suns super-fan Mr. ORNG, photographed at US Airways Center in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Patrick Battillo
twitter.com/PHXMRORNG

He wouldn’t want you to call him it, but Patrick Battillo might just be the Phoenix Suns’ number one fan. The 26-year-old Peoria resident and Brooklyn, N.Y. native, can be spotted at every Suns home game, donned head-to-toe in bright orange as “Mr. ORNG,” a Suns super-fan who is known for his whistles, chants and all-around Suns support both at home and at road games. Battillo, a life-long Suns fan, works for Target as a logistics group leader during the day. He also volunteers as a basketball coach for National Youth Sports in the West Valley, gives post-game interviews to KTAR 620-AM after home games, and makes appearances at community events as Mr. ORNG. He stresses that just because many fans may not be able to make it to games, doesn’t mean they’re not loyal or passionate, but he’s happy to help represent them at the arena. He shared his motivation for supporting the Suns as Mr. ORNG, how he hopes to support the community in general, and five reasons why he loves living in the Valley, below.

What brought you to Arizona?

I moved here when I was 7 — my parent’s job brought me here. What was interesting is that I always followed the Phoenix Suns, but I didn’t know they were in Arizona. When I moved here and was able to follow them live in person as opposed to the TV, that was really cool. Continue reading

Robert Thornton: Paper Clouds Apparel Owner

Robert Thornton, owner of Paper Clouds Apparel, photographed at Seed Spot in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Robert Thornton, owner of Paper Clouds Apparel, photographed at Seed Spot in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Robert Thornton
twitter.com/PaperCloudsPCA

Robert Thornton’s work is more about giving than getting back. As owner of bamboo T-shirt line Paper Clouds Apparel, the 32-year-old Phoenix resident and Chico, Calif. native supports a variety of local special needs causes with his business, which gives 50 percent of profits to special needs charities from the sale of the shirts, which are designed by kids with special needs. As one of the 16 venture businesses chosen to take up residency in Phoenix business incubator Seed Spot, Thornton is eager grow Paper Clouds Apparel and raise even more money for schools across the country. Read on for his story, as well as five reasons why he loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

The weather. I was playing professional baseball at around 1999, I hurt my leg, and I wanted to do my rehab outdoors, and I thought Arizona was the place to be. I had family that lived in Scottsdale, too. Continue reading

Jackie Morales: LIVE 101.5 Radio DJ, National Kidney Foundation of Arizona Activist

Jackie Morales, photographed at the 101.5 JamZ studios in Phoenix by Nicki Escudero

Jackie Morales, photographed at the LIVE 101.5 studios in Phoenix, by Nicki Escudero

Jackie Morales
twitter.com/JackieMoFSC

Jackie Morales has been one of the strongest female presences in the Valley radio scene, having worked her way up from promotions to her current position as mid-day DJ for LIVE 101.5-FM. While you can listen to her promote the latest in music news during the day, she’s also active in both community efforts for the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona, as well as a regular nightlife host at places such as Flicka’s in Scottsdale. Read on for how the 34-year-old Phoenix resident, who you can hear Monday’s through Friday’s and every other Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on 101.5-FM, became one of the Valley’s veteran DJ’s, as well as five reasons why she loves living in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I was born and raised in Douglas, Arizona, about 4 hours away. It’s a really small town. I went to Douglas High School and took classes at South Mountain (Community College), and after that, I went to the Academy of Radio and TV. Continue reading

Andrea Weck-Robertson: Scottsdale Autism Philanthropist for Lexie’s Law

Andrea Weck-Robertson, photographed at the Scottsdale Waterfront by Nicki Escudero

Andrea Weck-Robertson, photographed at the Scottsdale Waterfront, by Nicki Escudero

Andrea Weck-Robertson
twitter.com/LexiesVoice

Having an autistic child is a challenge, but Scottsdale resident Andrea Weck-Robertson has turned her experiences with her daughter Lexie into groundbreaking gains in the Arizona educational system. Lexie’s Law, signed in 2009, is named after her daughter and allows corporations to get dollar-for-dollar tax credits when donating money for scholarships for children with autism, which helps keep school choice alive for parents wishing to send their special needs kids to private schools with more specialized training and one-on-one attention. Keep reading for how Lexie’s Law came about and to hear five reasons why Weck-Robertson, 40, plans on staying in the Valley.

What brought you to Arizona?

I’m a native, born in Mesa and raised in Tempe. I went to McClintock High School and Mesa Community College, and I bought a beauty salon with my family. I worked there for 16 years and retired to have my children. The salon just had its 23rd year — it’s called Champs Salon in Tempe. I was an aesthetician by trade in skincare, and I was also a nail technician. My father had a beauty salon growing up, and I went in as a high school senior to beauty school. Continue reading