December 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Marriage: East Valley Tribune: Bryon and Karen Wells leave for two days of orientation in Miami followed by three months of training in Honduras while living with a host family. Then, they move into their own place (they donít know where yet) and spend the next two years dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Honduras: Peace Corps Honduras: The Peace Corps in Honduras: December 19, 2004: Headlines: COS - Honduras: Marriage: East Valley Tribune: Bryon and Karen Wells leave for two days of orientation in Miami followed by three months of training in Honduras while living with a host family. Then, they move into their own place (they donít know where yet) and spend the next two years dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-43-253.balt.east.verizon.net - 151.196.43.253) on Friday, December 24, 2004 - 4:40 pm: Edit Post

Bryon and Karen Wells leave for two days of orientation in Miami followed by three months of training in Honduras while living with a host family. Then, they move into their own place (they donít know where yet) and spend the next two years dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others

Bryon and Karen Wells leave for two days of orientation in Miami followed by three months of training in Honduras while living with a host family. Then, they move into their own place (they donít know where yet) and spend the next two years dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others

Bryon and Karen Wells leave for two days of orientation in Miami followed by three months of training in Honduras while living with a host family. Then, they move into their own place (they donít know where yet) and spend the next two years dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others

Commentary
Family Ties - Pair walks the walk of altruism
By Mary K. Reinhart, Tribune Columnist
Bryon and Karen Wells are among those rare people who truly believe the best things in life arenít things.
They are about to prove it as few others do with a twoyear commitment to the Peace Corps.
Until last week, the Tempe couple shared an apartment and a comfortable, stable life. Bryon, 32, has spent the past four years as a police reporter for the Tribune while Karen, 28, finished her degree at Arizona State University and worked as a hairstylist.

Comfort and stability, though, wasnít cutting it for this couple. So they volunteered for the Peace Corps and asked for a rural assignment in Latin America.

On Jan. 17, they leave for two days of orientation in Miami followed by three months of training in Honduras while living with a host family. Then, they move into their own place (they donít know where yet) and spend the next two years dedicating themselves to improving the lives of others.

They are a bit scared, very excited and fully prepared to get sick, as theyíre told nearly all volunteers do. They also know they may be stepping into dangerous territory.

"We want to be way out there," Karen said over lunch the other day.

"I think we want to go for it," Bryon added. "We want to do the whole experience."

That they are married is a boon to the Peace Corps, whose typical volunteer is young, female and single. Among current volunteers, just 10 percent are married.

Maybe itís because two years living in the jungle can test a marriage, as it surely will the Wellsesí five-year union.

After all, marriage is hard enough for most of us even under the best of circumstances. Throw my husband and me into a situation like that and weíd be lucky to last a week.

But this couple is asking for it, much to the initial dismay of their families.

"Havenít you already served your country?" Bryonís mother asked after learning of the coupleís Peace Corps plans. Indeed, Bryon served four years in the Marine Corps, ending his service in 1994 with a tour of the Persian Gulf. He also built houses as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

"We came here so you could have a better life and now you want to go back to poverty?" said Karenís parents, originally from Mexicali, Mexico.

To Karen, that was reason enough to go. When she visits relatives in Mexico, she despairs that poverty separates so many families from each other and their homeland.

"Why do people have to come here? Why do they have to disrupt their lives?" she said. "I want to help them be able to stay."

So she will spend two years educating villagers about HIV/ AIDS, nutrition, teen pregnancy and other maternal and child health issues. Bryon may be digging latrines. His job is to locate and secure potable water sources. In their downtime, they may help build a community garden or start a soccer team.

Improving the sanitation and health care of others, while helping them to take responsibility for these critical health issues, is a dream come true for this young couple. Not a new car (though Bryon was quite fond of the Triumph motorcycle heís selling). Not a new house, a new laptop or a new high-definition TV.

"If everybody thought this way just a little bit, maybe the world would be a better place," Bryon said.

There are more Peace Corps volunteers this year ó 7,733 in 72 countries ó than in almost three decades. The 43-year-old program may have had its heyday in the 1960s and í70s, but current leaders hope a new ad campaign ("Life is Calling. How Far Will You Go?") is resonating with Americans, including the 11,000 who applied in 2004. If youíre interested, visit www.peacecorps.gov or call (800) 424-8580.

The application process is long and involved. You canít bring along children or debt, and nearly all volunteers have a college degree. But if youíre committed to making the world a better place, there may be no better way to do it.

We will keep Bryon and Karen Wells in our thoughts and prayers these next two years, eager to hear about their adventures and, eventually, their safe return.
Contact Mary K. Reinhart by email, or phone (480) 898-6867





When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

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With Lloyd Pierson's departure, Marie Wheat has been named acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Operations responsible for the day-to-day management of the Peace Corps. Although Wheat is not an RPCV and has limited overseas experience, in her two years at the agency she has come to be respected as someone with good political skills who listens and delegates authority and we wish her the best in her new position.

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Story Source: East Valley Tribune

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Honduras; Marriage

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