FAIRFIELD — A family waiting for their own home, a former Lutheran minister and Vacaville resident who was ordained the first married Catholic priest in the Sacramento diocese, one woman’s mission to save unwanted birds and one man’s battle with nicotine were some of the stories shared with Daily Republic readers on the Living pages in 2011.
Those stories didn’t end with publication in the newspaper.
For the third year in a row, we have chosen some people profiled over the past year and checked in with them to see what’s happened since their story appeared in print.
Here are the updates.
Daily Republic readers were introduced to “Father Dad,” Vacaville resident Jeff Henry, on Father’s Day.
Earlier in June, Henry, who was married and served as pastor at Fairfield’s Trinity Lutheran Church, was ordained the first married priest in the Catholic diocese.
Less than six months later, in November, Henry, along with other Catholic priests and church members, started using a new English translation of the Latin liturgy used in Mass. It is the first major change in the Mass in more than four decades.
Prior, whenever the priest said, “The lord be with you,” the response was “And also with you.”
Today, it’s “And with your spirit,” which prompted Henry to share a joke about how millions attended a Christmas Mass and only a handful got the correct response. The joke centered on the fact that some people only attend worship at Christmas and Easter.
“Every once (in) a while I’ll say something wrong,” Henry said of the changes in the Mass.
Henry is the school chaplain at Vallejo’s St. Patrick-St. Vincent High School. He celebrates Mass at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Vallejo, often saying two Masses a weekend.
The novelty of being the first married Catholic priest in the Sacramento diocese is fading, he said.
“I think people have gotten over it, unless they are meeting me for the first time,” Henry said.
He said he’s also found that being married has been an advantage when it comes to offering spiritual help on marital relationship issues.
Fairfield resident Donna Borden continues her work caring for sick, abandoned, neglected and unwanted parrots. Her story appeared in the Daily Republic in September.
One of her newest residents is a bird that came from the home of a hoarder and lived in a maggot-infested cage.
And, while Borden said the bird is a “happy girl,” she added that it also hates women because that was the gender of her previous owner.
With 17 birds to care for, Borden said she’s running out of space in her home.
But she loves every minute of her work with the Second Chance Bird Rescue and is known to come home on her lunch break to let the birds out of their cages for some fresh air.
Then, there’s the time she went away for a weekend, only to find out from her bird sitter that a bird managed to get free of his cage and set other birds in the room free, too.
“It’s way interesting here,” Borden said.
When the weather warms up, Borden plans to take the adoptable birds out to locations such as Petco, so people can meet them. She’s also put signs on her car for Second Chance Bird Rescue.
Borden invests a lot of her own money in caring for the birds and is in need of cages as more rescue birds are anticipated.
The story of Jimmy Slover — a 56-year-old resident of Vallejo — touched the hearts of several readers. A smoker at age 13, he puffed away for decades not realizing that one day he would be in the end stages of emphysema and on oxygen 24/7.
He quit smoking two years ago and when he last spoke to the Daily Republic in October, he hoped that his story would resonate with at least one person. It did.
Slover put his Daily Republic story on his Facebook page. An acquaintance read the story and it touched her enough that she immediately kicked the habit by initiating the weaning process by using an electric cigarette, Slover said. Today, she is smoke-free and soon to become his roommate when he moves to Elk Grove to be close to his father and brother.
That made Slover a happy person, which isn’t much of a change from his usual positive persona.
“I just can’t see being negative,” he said. “I don’t know how much time I have left. I can’t undo what’s done, I just have to make the best with what I can.”
After four more trips to the hospital in the last few months to deal with depression after his mother’s death and an emphysema flareup, Slover considers himself back on a positive track. He’s got a new pulmonologist who has introduced some new ideas and medication, which Slover said is working. Recently he said that he was able to go three days without using his oxygen.
With his move to Elk Grove, he’s looking forward to hooking up with the medical staff at UC Davis Medical Center.
“Fresh blood and fresh minds so hopefully I’ll live for a long, long time,” he said.
The last Habitat for Humanity home to be built in Solano County was in 2008 — the negative economy ground to a halt the mechanisms that keep the nonprofit afloat and stopped the Habitat Corners home project at Acacia and Clay streets.
The project was still at a standstill when the Daily Republic did a story on Habitat for Humanity and its recipients nearly a year ago.
Pulling the plug on the project was painful, said Roddy Feldman, president of the Solano-Napa Habitat for Humanity.
“I lost a lot of sleep,” he said. “It was very difficult for me to make that decision.”
With the opening of Habitat’s Restore in Cordelia, things for the local chapter of Habitat turned around. The store, which opened in August, sells gently used or new donated home improvement items at steep discounts. After expenses, the store profits provide funds to build local Habitat homes. The store became an instant success and is already generating money to build homes, Feldman said.
The project, which has been in the works for about three years, has taken hold once again, much to the delight of Feldman and Jean Hamilton, who was chosen as a Habitat homeowner a long time ago and has been waiting for the project to get going again. She said the waiting has been hard because of “built-up expectations.”
“Each time a holiday goes by we think, ‘well, maybe next year . . .,’ ” said the 61-year grandmother whose three grandchildren live with her in a cramped, two-bedroom apartment.
In the meantime, the family kept the area mowed and maintained and drove by several times a week just to look. They’re excited now, Hamilton said. Construction of the homes — originally the plans called for three multiple-story homes, but it’s now two ranch-style homes — will begin in early spring.
While Restore is doing well, Feldman said that its profits won’t pay for the entire Habitat Corners project. For ways to help, go to http://SolanoNapaHabitat.org.