Mark Smith & Tori traveled to Rwanda and hiked a few hours into Volcano National Park to see two different families of Mountain Gorillas. Their guides, all former poachers, could recognize six different sounds made by the gorillas to determine their level of comfort with the guests. None of the gorillas were curious or bothered by their presence, so Mark and Tori could observe the gorillas going about their day: babies crawling all over moms, big silverbacks observing the situation, and general playing, eating and napping. “It was amazing,” Mark says.
Drew Barnes and his wife, Laura, traveled to California over the Fourth of July to visit Laura’s parents. They split their time between the Silicon Valley area, which is Laura’s parents’ primary residence, and Monterey, where they have a condo. The time in Monterey gave Drew and Laura the chance to revisit the place where they were married 3 years ago.
Over the Labor Day weekend, Drew Harper ventured to the Telluride area and successfully summited three more of Colorado’s 14ers: El Diente, Wilson Peak and Mount Sneffels. He has now climbed 45 of the Centennial State’s 58 14ers. He hopes to complete the list in the next few seasons.
Brittany Rice and Patrick had a busy year. They fostered two retired racing greyhounds in 2019 until they were adopted by wonderful local families. One of the hounds had a significant racing leg injury that required surgery and 12 weeks of rehabilitation. They were able to successfully keep the cast dry through two Denver “bomb cyclones” at the start of the year. To celebrate, Brittany and Patrick took a week-long camping and road trip through Western Colorado visiting Mesa Verde, Four Corners, Durango, and Black Canyon of the Gunnison before landing in Gunnison and Crested Butte for several days to visit with family and get in plenty of fishing.
In early September, Brittany attended the 25th Annual Raymond James Women’s Symposium in Orlando where she shared best practices with other RJ advisors. Notably, Brittany had the opportunity hear retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Nicole Malachowski speak – very fittingly on September 11 – about her experience as a fighter pilot. Nicole had a tremendous career and was selected as the first female USAF Thunderbird pilot. The Thunderbirds are the USAF’s prestigious flying aerobatic team. The theme of her powerful talk was breaking barriers. She stated, “Breaking barriers requires integrity. You must maintain fidelity to who you truly are.”
Jake Jaegle and his wife, Ellycia, have very exciting news to share: they are expecting a daughter in March 2020! Jake and Ellycia have a 3-year old son, Cooper, who is very excited to be a big brother. The baby and mom are both doing great, so please ask Jake about his daughter the next time you’re in the office.