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City: Oak Park
Orna Moreton has known Brett Mertz,
16, "since he was in his mother's
womb." Like a second mother to him,
she not above bragging about the giving
teen who lives across the street. And
Brett is not shy about bragging about
Orna, a woman whose body struggles
with the effects of multiple sclerosis, but
whose spirit is always upbeat andfin.
"She's always there and I can always go
talk to her about any problems," Brett
Their relationship is more than close.
They count on each other and keep each
other smiling. Brett does chores for
Orna, walks her dogs, changes light
bulbs, prepares food, mows her lawn,
rakes her leaves. "I can't think of any-
thing he doesn't do," Orna says. "He's a
blessing. He does for others. It's just a
gift he has."
What do you like about Orna?
"She's always in a good mood,
always fun. She's such a great person.
If I can't tell my mom, I can tell her.
My parents went through a divorce,
and she was a good supporter. And
she's right across the street."
Did you recently write a paper about
"It was a reflective essay, and we
could use things from our own experi-
ence. The paper was about me and
how I feel when I make a difference in
Neighbors Orna Moreton and Brett Mertz, both of Oak Park, help each other.
somebody's life. The reason I enjoy it
is because it makes me feel good about
myself. I think I'm pretty mature for
my age when it comes to helping peo-
ple. Orna's made me become more
You're a junior at Berkley High
School. Do you know what you want
to study at college?
"I want to help people out as much
as I can with their disabilities. I want
to teach special education. Because
they're young, and I'm young, I think
I can get across to them. My best
friend Eli's sister has Marshall-Smith
syndrome [usually characterized by
accelerated bone growth, motor and
mental retardation]. I see her all the
time and have learned to communi-
cate with her. She's made me more
You have such a sensitive side. Are
you a typical teenager?
"I love playing football. I'm on the
varsity team, and I want to play in
college. I'm 6-feet, 3-inches with big
poofy hair. I play baseball, too.
—Keri Guten Cohen,
story development editor
AS LOW AS
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REPORT A DOER...
Know a Doer — someone of any age doing
interesting, meaningful things in their life
outside of their job? Share suggestions
with Keri Guten Cohen, story development
editor, at (248) 351-5144 or e-mail:
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www.detroitjewishnews.com • Friday, Dec. 3, 2004 • Kislev 20, 5765 • Vol. CXXVI, No. 17
45 Happy Chanukah!
Our annual contest
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Arts & Life
On The Cover: Art, Mackenzie Coden
Page design, Kelli Johnson
. . . 10
88 I Can Do That!
Maybe it's not as easy as
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Lillian Jaffe Oaks
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