Tamara Al-Sammarraie was born in Baghdad, Iraq, on June 24, 1988—two months before the end of the Iraq-Iran war. She lived through the Persian Gulf War of 1991, the December 1998 bombing of Iraq and the American invasion in 2003. She fled Iraq in 2004 to live as a refugee in Damascus, Syria. Tamara lived in Damascus for six years, learning how to live on very little, not to expect too much and to be ready to leave on a moment's notice. In 2010, she received a scholarship to attend Bluffton University. She is currently a junior studying early childhood education.
Debbie Baumgartner was a decorating specialist who decided to retire after 21 years to homeschool her children. After their education was complete, she worked as an office manager. Six years ago she quit that position and shortly thereafter decided to clean houses with her husband. Debbie and her husband have been married for 40 years; they have five children and 19 grandchildren.
Liz Brinkman graduated from Bluffton in 1997 with a degree in food and nutrition. She is a registered dietitian in home health-care and primary-care settings in Phoenix, Ariz. She is married and has three children, ages 7, 5 and 2.
Julianne Frankhouser has been a registered nurse for more than a decade in Lima, Ohio. Over the last three years, she has been developing the nonprofit organization Guiding Light, to provide a home for pregnant teenagers along with hands-on life skills, mothering and spiritual guidance. She continues to rely on God and puts details in His hands. She is married with four children.
Susan McCain, a 1992 Bluffton graduate, earned a gold certification from the American Council on Exercise and has taught yoga and mind-body classes in the Lima area since 1995. She completed a master's degree in integral yoga therapy from Antioch McGregor University in 2007. She was a yoga therapy teacher for a year-long collaborative effort/clinical study with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, St. Rita's Medical Center and the University of Northwestern Ohio for breast cancer survivors. Susan is now semi-retired, teaching yoga classes and working at Lima Memorial Hospital.
Jim Steffen grew up in Findlay, Ohio, where he played basketball at the University of Findlay and earned a physical education degree. After college, he worked as a personal trainer in Chicago and San Diego. He is the author of Fun Fitness for Families and a co-author of Unleash Your Greatness, as well as the creator of Jim's Boga, XT50 and numerous other fitness programs. Jim has appeared on "Live with Regis and Kelly," ESPN's "SportsNation" and "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno." He established Jim's Gym Family Fitness and currently owns XT Fitness in Findlay.
Barb Stettler is associate professor emeritus of family and consumer sciences at Bluffton University, where she was a faculty member from 1970-2000 and developed the existing food and nutrition major. Barb earned a bachelor's degree in home economics from Miami (Ohio) University and a master's degree in food and nutrition from Bowling Green State University. She was former district presidents in the Ohio Home Economics Association and the Ohio Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Recently, she has taught nutrition courses for the Institute for Learning in Retirement program at the University.
Stephanie Wysong, owner of Stephanie's Savings, LLC, graduated from Wapakoneta High School and is a certified medical assistant. She started couponing in 2008 and began writing a column in The Lima News in 2011. Stephanie's methods are based on planning, budgeting, couponing and frugal living. She continues to teach coupon classes throughout the region and to post deals on her website. She is a mother of two and works full time in health care.
Marlene Yant attended The Ohio State University after graduating from Bluffton High School. She began her banking career in1973 and eventually joined Bank One. Marlene held several vice president positions at Bank One and later at Commercial Savings Bank. For the past four and a half years, Marlene has been a mortgage lender for First Federal Bank. She also teaches classes at the Lima Allen Council on Community Affairs (LACCA) to help families achieve homeownership. Marlene resides in Columbus Grove with her husband.