Saturday, December 08, 2001

Tristate's Olympic torchbearers

        A daily look at the people who will carry the Olympic flame through the Tristate Dec. 17 and 18:

Previous profiles
        Michelle Bultman, 38, Landen, secretarial business owner. She nominated her brother, Nick Westermeyer. competitive gymnast at Michigan State who broke his neck and overcame paralysis. Her message: “Even when things are down, stay positive, because positive things can come from bad situations.”

        Edward Buns, 43, West Chester, Hamilton police sergeant, Special Olympics volunteer. “We've always taken patriotism and our fellow citizens for granted, but people are now acknowledging their respect for their country, for other Americans and for public servants. The Olympics are an important symbol of the world coming together with athletics as the common bond.”

        Kelly Burdick, 20, sophomore at Miami University in Oxford. She was a three-sport athlete at Anderson High School, but a knee injury her junior year changed her life. “I really found that being involved (in school activities) and grades meant more to me than sports.” She's a member of Campus Activities Council and Kappa Kappa Gamma. She helps find tutors for special-needs students at Talawanda High School, and has been a tutor herself.

        Harold Deatherage, 56, of Villa Hills, retired, Boone County High School sports booster. He announces basketball games and provides the school teams with their mascot, Mr. Rebel. Americans can all have the spirit of the Olympics, he says, by “getting involved — with your government, your church, your schools, your kids.”

        Greg Denaro, 47, and wife Mary Rose, 50, of Mason, mark 25 years of marriage by being designated an “inspirational pair” among Olympic torchbearers. Mr. Denaro, a sales representative, carried the torch in Philadelphia for the Atlanta Games. He'll be among the volunteers officiating at the luge competition in Salt Lake City. Mrs. Denaro, a former librarian, is excited that her lap ends at Fountain Square. His message: “Remember every day that we're Americans. Now more than ever, we need to show what we're made of.”

        Charles Deuser, 71, of Indian Hill, retired from Procter & Gamble, takes his “Poetry to Tickle Your Funny Bone” to senior centers and retirement homes. A competitive race-walker, he won gold and silver medals in the Senior Olympics in San Antonio. The Olympics take on a special meaning now, he says. “For a short period of time, I hope people will come together without politics.”

        Kevin Dineen, 24, Hyde Park, a seven-year cancer survivor, starts law school next year. “This year, (the Olympics) has added significance: the potential to bring this country and the world together. The unique timing has the potential to make this Olympics be the best.”

        Polly Campbell, Jackie Demaline, John Johnston and Shauna Scott Rhone contributed to this report.


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- Tristate's Olympic torchbearers
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