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Going GreenHouse Gives Back – Episode 4


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Going GreenHouse Gives Back – Episode 4

Welcome to the fourth episode of “Going GreenHouse Gives Back,” where we highlight remarkable individuals in our community and share their inspiring stories with you. Today, we have the pleasure of diving into the lives of Kathie and Stephen Barnes, cherished clients of Going GreenHouse.

Having been part of our GreenHouse family for a couple of years now, the Barnes’ warm and gracious demeanor has left a lasting impression on our office staff and crew. It’s a delight to have the opportunity to get to know them better today.

One of the highlights of our conversation will be delving into their special “love week” tradition, a heartwarming ritual that embodies the essence of love and connection – and could be the secret to a happy marriage!

I’m your host, April Prothero, and I’m thrilled to guide you through Kathie and Stephen’s journey, exploring their enduring commitment to each other and their beautiful love story. Welcome to “Going GreenHouse Gives Back.”

April: How did you two first meet, and what initially drew you to each other?

Stephen: Well, Kathie and I actually started out working at the same place. We were both at John Hancock, and it was there that we both decided to pursue financial planning.

Kathie: That’s right. At the time, I was working on my Ph.D. in psychology, but I took a bit of a detour into the world of financial planning. Life insurance, in particular, had quite a reputation, but I found it intriguing. We ended up in the same training class, and that’s where we realized we could combine our strengths.

Stephen: Exactly. I was more inclined towards the investment side of things, while Kathie had a knack for connecting with people. We made a great team.

Kathie: Over time, we became not just colleagues, but friends. And eventually, we took the plunge and got married, about five years after we first met back in 1983. Those years in Phoenix were quite formative for us.

April: It sounds like your professional partnership blossomed into something much deeper. Kathie, you mentioned moving from Iowa to Arizona for grad school. Can you tell us a bit more about that?

Kathie: Yes, I moved to Arizona in 1976 to attend grad school at ASU. It was a big change for me, but I found my footing here and ended up staying.

Stephen: Meanwhile, I mostly grew up in Phoenix, although we did have a brief stint in Texas. My parents eventually moved back to Phoenix because, well, my mom wasn’t as fond of Texas as she was Arizona.

April: It’s interesting how life leads us down unexpected paths. Your journey from colleagues to partners in both work and life is quite remarkable. Thank you both for sharing that with us. What do you admire most about each other, and how has it contributed to your relationship?

Stephen: Well, it all starts with us being together. Kathie has this incredible ability to communicate with people in a way that’s genuine and compassionate. She’s a kind soul, always ready to lend an ear to those who need it. I think that’s what draws people to her, and it’s certainly what drew me to her.

Kathie: Thank you, Stephen. And for me, I’ve always admired Stephen’s intelligence and analytical mind. He has this remarkable ability to break down complex financial concepts and make them accessible to anyone. But beyond that, Stephen’s resilience is truly awe-inspiring. He’s had to face some significant health challenges, with four strokes and a seizure in just seven years. Yet, through it all, he’s shown incredible courage and determination. Most people would have thrown in the towel, but not Stephen. He’s pushed through with remarkable self-discipline and unwavering perseverance.

April: It’s clear that you both bring out the best in each other, complementing each other’s strengths and supporting one another through life’s challenges. Thank you for sharing that with us. What activities or hobbies do you both enjoy doing together?

Stephen: Well, we have a few favorite pastimes that we like to indulge in together. One of our favorites is strolling around the Japanese Friendship Garden, taking in the serene surroundings and enjoying each other’s company. We also have this little habit of wandering around downtown, admiring the architecture and checking out houses in the neighborhood. Plus, we make it a point to walk to get meals at least three days a week, and we try to hit the gym together whenever we can.

Kathie: Yes, and we used to love hiking the Squaw Peak on Bayless Trail, which was down the street from our house. It was such a beautiful way to connect with nature and each other.

Stephen: We’re huge fans of classic movies, especially the old ones from the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. There’s something timeless about them. My all-time favorite is “Notorious” by Alfred Hitchcock, shot in captivating black and white.

Kathie: We love the old ones but because we’re well-rounded we make sure to see the trendy stuff like “Oppenheimer” and “Barbie” too!  We live downtown now so on First Fridays it’s fun to people-watch from our patio.  We enjoy listening to some good jazz too and we’re lucky enough to have a great club, The Nash, just steps from our building.

April: It sounds like you both have a diverse range of interests that you share. From classic movies to exploring downtown and enjoying live jazz, it’s clear that you make the most of your time together. What has been the most memorable moment in your life together?

Stephen: There have been a couple of standout moments that I cherish dearly. Firstly, the day our daughter Stephanie was born. It was an incredible experience, and becoming parents together brought us closer than ever. And of course, our wedding day holds a special place in my heart. It was a beautiful celebration of our love and commitment to each other.

Kathie: For me, one of the most memorable milestones was owning and running our business. We met in 1983 and embarked on this journey together. We worked for two companies before taking the leap and starting our own business, which we successfully ran for over 25 years. Working side by side, defining our styles, and navigating the challenges together strengthened our bond in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

April: It’s evident that your journey together has been filled with significant moments that have shaped your relationship. From the joy of parenthood to the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship, you’ve shared a remarkable journey.  You touched on the subject a little bit, but I could see a twinkle in your eyes when you talked about your daughter, Stephanie.  Can I hear a little bit more about the apple of your eye?

Kathie: Our daughter Stephanie pursued a career in television reporting after attending Xavier and Pepperdine University. She started at NBC Los Angeles behind the scenes before moving to on-air roles in small markets. Now, she serves her community in media and communication as the Senior Public Information Officer and works for the Director of Communication for the City of Phoenix.  She’s so dynamic and can do it all!  

April: She sounds like she got the best of both you, I can see that you are both so proud. Now tell me, are there any rituals or traditions you have as a couple that hold special meaning for you?

Stephen: One tradition that we hold dear is what we fondly refer to as “love week.” It spans from February 14th to February 20th, and for the past 30 years, we’ve made it a point to celebrate our love during this time. A significant part of our tradition involves spending time at the Enchantment Resort in Sedona, where we’ve created countless memories over the years. This year marks our 36th anniversary, and we’re looking forward to continuing this tradition, cherishing each moment together.

April: “Love week” sounds like a beautiful tradition, allowing you both to reconnect and celebrate your love in a meaningful way. It’s wonderful to hear how you’ve made this tradition a cornerstone of your relationship over the years. Switching gears a little bit, can you share how our cleaning service has made a positive impact on your daily life?

Kathie: Your cleaning service has truly been a lifesaver for us, especially during challenging times. When we were in the midst of moving to another building on March 21, 2022, Stephen suffered a massive stroke shortly after our walk-through. Despite the chaos of relocating, we managed to move into our new home on May 11. However, by mid-June, amidst the unpacked boxes and constant hospital visits, our living space was in disarray, and we were simply too exhausted to clean. That’s when your team stepped in and helped restore a sense of normalcy to our lives. Your assistance during that turbulent period was invaluable, allowing us to focus on Stephen’s recovery without the added stress of maintaining a clean home.

Your approach to running the business is refreshingly different, and having been business owners ourselves, we truly appreciate it. Moreover, knowing that our home is always clean gives us peace of mind, especially when visitors come to see Stephen. We never want to turn anyone away because the house isn’t tidy. Your understanding of our situation and your commitment to exceptional service are deeply appreciated, and we’re grateful to have you as part of our support system.

April: It’s beyond heartwarming to hear how our cleaning service has made such a positive impact during a challenging time. We’re honored to have been able to assist you and contribute to making your daily life a little bit easier. Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

As we bring this episode of “Going GreenHouse Gives Back” to a close, we want to share something that is near and dear to the Barnes family’s heart is Strike Out Stroke an initiative that holds significant meaning for stroke survivors and their loved ones nationwide. Last year, during March for spring training baseball, the community gathered to witness stroke survivors, including our very own Stephen Barnes, throw out the first pitch. It was an inspiring event filled with support and camaraderie.

For stroke awareness, Barrow employs the Strike Out Stroke program, which aims to educate the public about the signs and symptoms of stroke and the importance of timely treatment. Additionally, Barrow recently introduced the Stroke Mobile, a relatively new initiative designed to provide rapid assistance to individuals who may not be able to reach the hospital quickly in the event of a stroke.

Participation in stroke awareness programs is essential, and the Barnes family is actively involved in the Aphasia Community Program. Starting slow on February 26, this program is tailored to Barrow patients who experience aphasia, a condition that affects communication following a stroke. The need for such programs is significant, and it’s truly exciting to see a consistent and effective program being established to support those in need.

We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Kathie and Stephen for graciously sharing their remarkable journey with us. Their unwavering love, resilience, and mutual dedication serve as a beacon of inspiration to us all.

Once again, Kathie and Stephen, thank you for your openness and willingness to be part of our “Going GreenHouse Gives Back” series. Your story beautifully illustrates the profound impact of love, community, and positivity. We eagerly anticipate sharing more uplifting tales in the episodes ahead.

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