The best of the best: Meet Doppler’s top five extraordinary people of 2017

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It’s no secret. This town is bursting with remarkable people from all walks of life. I constantly strive to find those unsung heroes; you know, the folks who consistently go above and beyond for others but expect nothing in return. Not even a pat on the back. It is my job to find them and tell their story.

I think I have the best job in the world. I get to bring the good news — real people doing really awesome things — in a world that often seems confusing and in a constant state of turmoil. This year, I hunted down some of Huntsville’s best, including a gypsy-like traveller with no ties to hold her down; a former nun who’s as feisty and fiery as she is sweet and utterly unconditional; and a pair of educators who will make you wish you were still in grade school. I can’t wait to see what kind of interesting people get cast into the spotlight in 2018. Only time will tell their extraordinary stories.

 The Gift of life: Meet Shelley Martin (pictured above)

This one was the first profiles of 2017 and near and dear to my heart for a few reasons. One, I know Shelley personally and she has the courage and strength of a true fighter. The bond she shares with her son, Curtis, is certainly special. He gave her a kidney because she needed it. It’s as simple as that. The story will tug at your heartstrings and make you want to hold your boy close (if you have one).

Read Shelley’s story in The gift of life: Meet Shelley Martin.


Meet two of the area's finest educators, Mel and Kent Maxwell.

Meet two of the area’s finest educators, Mel and Kent Maxwell.

Inspiring minds, shaping lives: Meet Mel and Kent Maxwell

Getting the chance to meet Mel and Kent Maxwell was something of a honour. The people of Dwight gush about them. They made their mark on me and I’m not even a student. I’m still thinking about them! With their unique approach to get students turned on to learning, any kid would be lucky to have either one as an educator. It was refreshing to find two teachers who have such an unconditional love for children and an innate understanding of the meaning of individuality.

Read about Mel and Kent in Inspiring minds, shaping lives: Meet Mel and Kent Maxwell.


As to why she devoted her life to serving others, Marge calls it a mystery. Some things just can't be explained, she says.

As to why she devoted her life to serving others, Marge calls it a mystery. Some things just can’t be explained, she says.

The good life: Meet Marge Denis

This wonderful lady will forever be etched into my memory. I still have the message she left me praising me on my “gift with the pen”. She led a life less ordinary, having been a sister of service and then going spiritual. Her life story is nothing short of compelling and she thrives off inspiring others. Marge is indeed one of a kind and Huntsville is lucky to have her.

Learn more about Marge in The good life: Meet Marge Denis.


Marvin Martin (front) has passed along the secrets of making maple syrup to his son, John, and grandson, Curtis.

Marvin Martin (front) has passed along the secrets of making maple syrup to his son, John, and grandson, Curtis.

Sugar rush: Meet the Martin family

It’s not too often that four generations of family continue to tap into mother earth for the sweet stuff in the exact same spot. And the best part is that they’re making liquid gold the old-fashioned way, which is a lot of hard work. Marvin Martin was just a small boy when he began tapping trees on his father’s property and it’s a gift he made sure to pass on to his son and grandson, who will continue to work the bush until the trees run dry. If that ever happens.

Read about the Martins’ passion for maple syrup in Sugar rush: Meet the Martin family.


Sara McLachlan is about collecting moments not things.

Sara McLachlan is about collecting moments not things.

Wanderlust: Meet Sara McLachlan

Sometimes I wish I was her! Sara is the complete opposite of me. She has no kids, no mortgage, no debt, and a sunny disposition and the kind of positive attitude that continues to attract good things. She has travelled the world, mostly solo, and has met a lot of awesome people along the way. At almost 30, she has undoubtedly collected more memories than most people twice her age. Now that’s living life to the fullest.

Learn about Sara’s journeys in Wanderlust: Meet Sara McLachlan.

Every week, I profile an extraordinary human being who lives in our community. If you know someone who is doing something interesting with their life, I want to hear about it. Send me an email at [email protected].

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