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October 2016 People


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A Familiar Voice

Have you ever met someone new and been absolutely convinced you knew them from somewhere? It happens all the time to Connie Wetzell. “Sometimes people figure it out and sometimes they don’t,” says the Petaluma resident, a highly successful voice over artist who can be heard on television and radio commercials, audiobooks, e-learning tutorials, public service announcements and more.

As a young woman, she pursued a singing career in her native Chicago. Before long, she was approached about being on the radio—as an announcer. “I don't talk, I sing,” she said. “But at age 20, I was on the air at a local station. I worked in every facet of the industry while I was there, including commercials and news reports.”

A move to Nashville resulted in even more voice over opportunities, and Wetzell established herself as a talented voice artist. “Good singers are everywhere in Nashville, so I decided to focus on the voice work...put myself in a smaller pool of talent and it worked out well for me.”

“I’ve recorded literally thousands of on-hold messages,” she continues, including being chosen as the voice for Sprint nationally. “I have a Sprint phone,” she laughs, “and I can remember the first time I told myself, ‘The person you are calling is not available….’”

It gets funnier: “I’ve given myself my bank balance, refilled my own prescriptions, rented myself a car and checked my own insurance benefits. The strangest one was when I was staying at the Crown Plaza Laguardia in New York and requested a wake-up call. At 6:30 a.m., I received a call from myself to wake up and join myself for breakfast!”

Wetzell moved to the North Bay three years ago to be closer to family, but because of the mobile nature of her career, she’s just as busy as ever. “My sweet spot is corporate videos,” she says. “I think every business could use a good voice to represent the company—professional, yet friendly and approachable—in training videos, company informational pieces and audio clips on websites. I enjoy doing that.”

Hidden Hero: A Show of Respect

An emerging Veterans Day tradition puts a face on the phrase “support our troops.” In its third year, the Windsor Hometown Heroes Military Banners project is a city-operated venture that identifies and honors the men and women from Windsor actively serving all branches of the United States military.  Windsor is among several Sonoma County municipalities that offer such programs.

With nearly 60 active service members already on the banners, project leader Amanda Gray lead the drive to reach the six minimum new applications that funds the Veterans Day ceremonies. “The normal fee for a banner is $200. If the petitioner can’t pay full price, the city offers financial assistance,” she says. “This isn’t about raising money; it’s about honoring the service of our own hometown heroes.”

The banners are 28” by 54” and feature the service member’s military portrait along with their name and branch. Banners are displayed prominently at the Huerta Gymnasium throughout the service dates of the member, with annual verification checks with the appropriate military branch. When a service member is discharged, the banner is then gifted to his or her family. While applications for new banners stopped September 28, this is an ongoing project, and donations and volunteers are accepted year-round.

 


 

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