YAN people in the news

Anthony Sanchez of Yavapai-Apache Nation was in Madras, Oregon fighting a forest fire.
Written by admin

Physical stamina, endurance, personal dedication and positive thinking=

primary ingredients for running marathons

By Don Decker, YAN News  8/26/17

Laurie Stevens completes Estes Park, Colorado run

While many people are sitting in their living rooms all weekend with remote controls in their hands watching TV, Laurie Stevens, YAN member, runs marathons. Now, in her 7th year running full and half marathons, Stevens just returned from the Estes Park Marathon run where she ran a 13.1 mile half marathon. Last year, she and council woman Rachel Hood ran the Grand Teton marathon in Wyoming.

Stevens has the confidence to run more marathons and her collection of running medals is proof of her interest and desire to run.. Someone has to complete a marathon with the shortest amount of time but Stevens is happy to just complete the marathon regardless of the time. For most marathon runners, competiveness is not in the realm of participating although most marathon runners consider themselves competitors according to Runner’s Magazine.

Awarded metals from past runs

Estes Park is on the east end the Rocky National Park about 65 miles northwest of Denver and the elevation is the same as Flagstaff-7,500 feet. The scenery is spectacular and the primary destination of the area is Grand Lake west of the park providing post card views of the Rockies. Elk graze freely on the edge of roads as tourists stop to take photos.

August 12, Saturday marked the day for Stevens as she began the run at Lake Estes with 76 other women in her age category. The course returned to the point of origin and Stevens’ photographs shows people running along a lake’s edge.

”The weather was perfect, nice and cool with the highs in the 70s. I had never been there and it was beautiful there,” said Stevens about her visit to the Rockies. The ½ marathon which converts to 13.1 miles garnered a time of 2:48 hours for Stevens which averaged out to 12-minute mile segments. Last year, Stevens’ time for the half marathon in the Grand Tetons was 2:23.




Remarkable weight loss brings many benefits to YAN member

By Don Decker, YAN News 8/26/17

Two-hundred and forty-four (244) pounds is equal to about 24 bowling balls weighing 10 pounds each. Imagine carrying 24 bowling balls on a small skeletal frame for a few years.


That is what Jessica Hernandez carried around until April of 2015 when she walked into the office of the Nation’s Weightloss Clinic where she was greeted by Valeria Williams, the program manager for the clinic. Ms. Hernandez now weighs 155 pounds!

This sanctioned weight loss program aka Ideal Weight Loss Method by the Nation has been met with many successes since its adoption. The Ideal Weight Loss Method, as it is officially titled, was invented by a Parisian medical doctor, Tan Tien Chanh. Today, this weight loss program has “emerged as the healthiest method of weight loss” according to a prevailing message on the internet.



Jessica is an exuberant person and is welling to share her story about her new life.

Ms. Hernandez can vouch for the program because this has given her the opportunity to jettison about 9 bowling balls off of her frame and she is still continuing with her weight loss program. She is vibrant, appears to be happy and healthy and she also practices what she preaches.

You see, Ms. Hernandez is now a weight loss coach along with her supervisor Ms. Williams who helped her to lose the 89 lbs.to date.  With solid convictions about the program, Ms. Hernandez coaches others in the weight loss program to stay away from “root vegetables, corn, fruit, nuts, soda, alcohol, cream pies, cotton candy, sweet peas, milk shakes, French fries, deep fried burritos”, almost everything else that could add a few more bowling balls to the body’s frame and possibly a quick trip to the grave from a heart attack.

“I decided to lose weight because of health issues, finding out about the history of my family’s health and try to prevent that from happening,” she added.

Ms. Hernandez would be considered petite up against someone 244 lbs. and she takes much credence in living healthy and seeing the benefits of feeling good about herself.

“I enjoy shopping. I don’t have to buy more stuff and pay extra money for the material,” she says with a laugh about the large sizes of clothing she use to buy and wear.


Now that she is coaching others to lose weight, Ms. Hernandez says that the Nation’s weight loss participants are glad to see her as a coach.

“They are more excited to come and being in the program, hearing about it and they want to give it another whirlwind or a new start,” said Ms. Hernandez about the clients she works with.

Jessica is the daughter of the late Debra Johnson and Deci’ Hernandez of Middle Verde. She graduated from Mingus High School in 2006 and has remained in Verde Valley where she was employed for a total of 7 years inside of the casino as a hostess-cashier in the Gallery Restaurant then as a supervisor in the bowling alley for 4 years and finally, as administrative assistant at the casino’s cage for two and half years.

Ask about her recommendation for self-improvement, Ms. Hernandez said, “Just get up and move, change your eating habits, be selective, more vegetables and integrate that into a regular routine”.  And join the Ideal Weight Loss Program.

People are crazy about breads but not Ms. Hernandez. “Stay away from all the breads, tortillas, all the sugars, all of the above,” she said.

Soon, Ms. Hernandez will be placed into a ‘maintenance’ whereby she will be “able to eat just about anything (except French fries), more protein and a little more fruit” and still maintain her desired weight.

It’s about longevity and a long life. Jessica Hernandez has found that key.

Photo by YAN News



Youth group take matters into own hands to raise funds for runner’s club

By Don Decker, YAN News  8/26/17

Local teens in Middle Verde banded together and organized the ‘Warrior’s Runners’. This is a new group of cross-country runners who intend to be survivors.

RJ James, Shushandelyn Lewis, Mikayla Mix, Ariana Lopez and Able Campos set up a stand filled with goodies to raise funds for their running club.

Five of the Yavapai-Apache teens brought home-made cookies and cupcakes to sell inside of the administration building the 3rd week of August.

Mikayla Mix , 9th grader attending Camp Verde Middle School,  brought some baked goods from home to. Mix said that Warrior’s Runners is composed of local teens including Riley Ortega, a Hopi from Prescott Valley who help organize the 1200 mile run from Flagstaff to the North Dakota pipeline demonstration last year. Shashandelyn Lewis, another member of the Warriors Runners, also ran with Mix and Ortega on the more recent run of the Sacred Hoop run held this past late June in South Dakota. This run was held in conjunction with the annual 500 mile Sacred Run sponsored by a youth group from Pine Ridge, South Dakota. This group ran with the Yavapai-Apache Nation youth through Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana from June 19 -24.

For now, Warriors Runners are hoping to sell enough to pay for some new running shirts and shoes for the members.  Members include R.J.James, a 10th grader,  Arianna Lopez 9th grader and Able Campos, a 7th grader all from  Camp Verde schools. The oldest in the group is Shashandelyn Lewis who is in the Ed Options high school program in Camp Verde Schools.

“I’m the founder of the club,” said Mix proudly and with a lot of energy. “We became a club after we returned from the Sacred Run in South Dakota.”

The running club ran recently in the Harvest Festival held on the Nation’s farm the second week in August. “We train about 3 to 4 times a week after school,” said Mix. The youth run a 2-3 mile course each day after school  that meanders around Middle Verde streets. Mix said the runner’s club was organized to “keep troubled youth out of trouble”.

So, if you see this group’s next bake sale, be sure to stop by and buy some cupcakes with the ‘sprinkles’ to top.


Photo by YAN News




YAN Food Bank appoints new coordinator

By Don Decker, YAN News 8/26/17


Lavina Sanchez of Middle Verde is the new Food Bank Coordinator

After a brief absence of a food bank coordinator, Lavina Sanchez has been named as the new Food Bank Coordinator for the Nation. Ms. Sanchez is a community member through her marriage to Anthony Sanchez, an enrolled member of the Yavapai-Apache Nation. The Sanchez’s have been living in the Show Low for the past 6 years where Mr. Sanchez is completing his final last four months before retiring fully after working in the field of forest/fire management for most of his professional years. Mr.Sanchez has been employed by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the White Mountain Apache Reservation for the past 6 years as IC3 (Incident Commander-Type 3). Currently, Mr. Sanchez is currently on detail fighting a fire in Oregon for the past 2 weeks.

For the Sanchez’s, Middle Verde is home where she’ll be available to spend more time with the Sanchez’s 3 children and 2 granddaughters.

“I’m so happy to be home-this is where my heart is and I’ve been living here on the reservation for the past 35 years. When I moved to Show Low, it felt like I was just visiting. I had a hard time and was homesick,” said Ms. Sanchez about her return to Middle Verde after living in Show Low for 6 years.

Ms. Sanchez has been employed by the Nation in previous years beginning in 1995 when she was administrative assistant in the Contracts and Grants Office of the Nation for 10 years.

Thereafter, she moved onto the Nation’s Public Works Program and the public relations office and subsequently 1.5 years with the EPA office.

Having returned from Show Low just 2 weeks ago, the Food Bank is beginning to see a revival after being without a manager for a few weeks. Ms. Sanchez has some great plans for the Food Bank. “I want to resume some contracts that were lost and to bring some other resources like the Bountiful Baskets which will allow persons with over-income limits to allow people to buy food baskets to stretch their food budgets,” she said. In the past, the Food Bank had some creative food sharing with St. Mary’s Food Bank of Phoenix but all of that has been curtailed due to lack of contracts and soon, Ms. Sanchez will revive them.

Ms. Sanchez also wants to be the catalyst to bring healthy eating by prepping food to show what kinds of meals can be prepared from the food boxes given out at the Food Bank. “How can you make the food stretch and prepare different foods to provide more variety in nutrition to the community,” Ms. Sanchez added.  “Things are looking better each day for the food bank as the Nation’s Agriculture Resource Department (The Nation’s farm) is delivering fresh grown vegetables such as Anaheim peppers, squash and  sweetcorn.”

There are no appointments necessary to receive assistance and it’s a walk-in and fill out an application process. Ms. Sanchez also stated that she wants to assure the participation of all the communities located on the Nation such as Rimrock, Camp Verde, Clarkdale and Tunlii and to establish some emergency caches of food in those communities to be given out on as-needed basis.

Another convenient change is that the Food Bank is now opened 5 days a week with Mondays-Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 8:30-4 p.m. and Wednesdays from 8:30-3:30.

You can reach Ms. Sanchez at 928-649-7125.



Nation member fighting fire in Oregon

Anthony Sanchez of Yavapai-Apache Nation takes a selfie at the Emerson Fire in Madras, Oregon.

By Don Decker, YAN News


Anthony Sanchez of YAN-Middle Verde was at the Emerson Fire in Madras, Oregon for 2 weeks at the beginning of August. Madras is about 100 miles southeast of Portland. Interestingly, Madras was also the site of the complete black-out during the eclipse that occurred on August 21.

Mr. Sanchez has been in Madras for 2 weeks and as of August 18, the fire was contained by 30%-40%. Satellite photos show steep terrain in the fire zone and reports of high winds, power lines and storms.

Mr. Sanchez is employed by the BIA on the White Mountain Apache Reservation in eastern Arizona as an Incident Commander Type 3 for the past 6 years.

At this point, Type 3 personnel are overseeing the Madras fire.

Mr.Sanchez is husband of Lavina Sanchez who is coordinator of the Nation’s food bank.


Courtesy photo by Sanchez family



YAN Human Resource Department adds new personnel

By Don Decker, YAN News

Brian Kelley of Rimrock is the newest member of the HR team for the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

Brian Kelley is the newest member of the HR team for YAN

Mr. Kelley has been with that department for the past 3 weeks. “It’s a lot different, it’s more fast- paced than I thought. It keeps me busy,” he said with a smile.

On his personal side, Mr. Kelley is connected very closely with the Yavapai-Apache Nation since he is married to YAN member Lyndell Charley of the Nation’s Rimrock community.  Between him and his wife, they share 6 children including a new 5 month old child. Mia Charley, step-daughter to Mr. Kelley, was named Valedictorian at Beaver Creek School last spring during spring graduation. Elder Everett Randall of Rimrock is grandfather to the Kelley family.

Mr. Kelley brings with him a varied background of professional experiences and spending over 13 years working at the Cliff Castle Casino as a prep cook at the exclusive Storyteller Fine Dining and as Sous Chef for the Gallery and as fill-in chef for the Storyteller Fine Dining. After this, Mr. Kelley went on to the Cage/vault department handling the cash for the casino.

Mr. Kelley was born in Belleville, New Jersey then moved to Olympic, Washington where he finished high school. His mother now resides in Verde Valley and that brought Mr. Kelley back from Australia and New Zealand in 2003! Yes, ‘down under’!

In Australia, he was backpacking across the country and found a job there installing insulation in such places as Brisbane, Sidney, Darwin and Perth. “I hitched hike across Australia (hopping on diesel trucks crossing Australia) and Australia is the same size as the United States but between Perth and Sidney, there’s nothing,” he said about a distance of 2,100 miles. Mr. Kelley attained special skills on a road tarring crew while living in Australia as well.

And just to spice up his backpacking adventures, Mr. Kelley traveled to nearby New Zealand some 1400 miles east of Australia in a city called Rotorua and lived and work there for 6 months. “This is the birthplace of bunjee jumping.  New Zealand is like Washington state, rainy, very cool and lots of mountains,” he added. “Some of the friendliest people I ever met live there. They will help you out with whatever they can do for you.”

New Zealand was definitely an eye opener for Mr. Kelley. “The social activity of the people there involved lots of sports (including backpacking ), surfing and hiking. It was very low-keyed.” The added bonus of moving to New Zealand was that he had the opportunity to meet the Maori tribe who are indigenous peoples of the country who have their own tribal customs and language. “I saw one of their war dances there,” he recalls.

Mr. Kelley returned to the states in 2003 after he stayed in  Australia for the second time.

Understanding a world-view is an advantage Mr. Kelley possesses with the unique experiences of having lived in New Zealand and Australia. Surely, this world-view will be put to good use as Administrative Assistant working  with the indigenous people of the Yavapai-Apache Nation.

Photo by YAN News







Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to toolbar