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Byline: WHERE ARE THEY NOW? By Bob Welch The Register-Guard

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Where Are They Now?" is a Monday column that updates readers on local newsmakers from the past.

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THEN (1999): Winnie Barron was profiled in a three-day Register-Guard series after reporter Paul Neville and photographer Nicole DeVito accompanied the Brownsville woman to Africa to see the Makindu Children's Program she had started in Kenya.

NOW: The program is going strong, even though Barron herself is only now recovering from a traumatic automobile accident.

In November 2005, Barron was seriously injured in a one-car accident outside of Brownsville. While admittedly going too fast on an "S" curve, Barron lost control of her 1988 Honda Civic, rolled five times, according to police, and suffered numerous injuries: four rib fractures, four lumbar fractures, left hip and shoulder fractures, pulmonary and cardiac contusions and, the topper, a traumatic head injury.

Mentally, it was like starting all over. "I had lots of memory loss, difficulty with balance and coordination and seizures," she says.

She was unable to work as a physician's assistant in Sweet Home as she had before the accident, and had to give up her volunteer work as a paramedic and firefighter in Brownsville.

Barron, 49, spent three weeks doing in-patient rehabilitation at Sacred Heart Medical Center's Oregon Rehabilitation Center. More rehab would follow at home.

Now, Barron has returned to her volunteer job and is awaiting final clearance from the state to return to work as a physician's assistant.

"The doctor says if people didn't know I'd had a brain injury, nobody would suspect it," she says.

Meanwhile, her Makindu work continues. She's been to Africa twice in recent years and is thrilled to see nearly 300 children now being served by her program.

Inspired by Barron, a group of nurses from the Oregon Rehabilitation Center have finished a quilt that'll be auctioned off at a Makindu fundraiser in the fall.

More information on Makindu: P.O. Box 325, Brownsville, OR 97327; (541) 466-5521;
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Title Annotation:Columns
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Article Type:Column
Date:Apr 16, 2007
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