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yvonne truhon, graphic artist

I grew up in Rochester, New York, and have lived in Winston-Salem since 1984. My husband and I have two rescue cats. I enjoy reading, cooking, gardening and volunteering at The Little Theatre and Theatre Alliance, community theatre groups in Winston-Salem.

As a graphic artist at PS Communications since 2003, I have a behind-the-scenes role: After our writers submit their articles and photos; after our editor/publisher edits them; after our advertisers approve their ads ... I’m the one who pulls all those things together into one coordinated layout and uploads finalized pages to our printer.
I hold a bachelor’s degree in Greek and Latin from Valparaiso University, with a minor in drama. I’ve worked in a variety of places: a doughnut shop, a bakery/restaurant, a costume shop, a printshop and of course, publishing, thus proving a college professor’s saying: “If you can learn Greek, you can learn anything.”
lucy smith, finance manager

I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Florida. I am semi-retired, but have worked for PS Communications for over 19 years and still enjoy overseeing the company’s financial department. I handle all accounts payable, advertiser invoicing and accounts receivable, and I am who our customers contact with questions about their billing – basically, it’s my job to ensure all the company’s financial minutiae is taken care of.

What I enjoy most about my job with PS Communications is the people I work with, and how all my co-workers work together. Every one of them is good at what they do, dependable, professional and a delight to work with.

On a personal note, I am a first-generation American of Greek descent, and my real name is Vassilia Emanuela Sapounas-Smith. In my spare time I love to cook and garden, my husband and I enjoy being with our two dogs who we treat like children, and I always find time to exercise. I also enjoy soaking up the Florida sun whenever possible, and plan to make it my permanent home again at some point. 
patti stokes, owner / editor / publisher 

I’m the youngest of five kids and grew up on a small farm in southeastern Pennsylvania, where I was surrounded by open fields, learned to milk a cow, rode a stubborn pony named Nick and survived the intimidation of one mean rooster named Buster. 

I’ve lived in North Carolina since I was 15. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UNCG. I worked in various publishing-relating jobs after college, before starting what was then the “Oak Ridge Observer” in November 1996. 

The last 26 years of owning a community newspaper have been rich with challenges, lessons about life and people, frustrations, laughter and much more. Through it all, I’m honored to have played a part in helping northwest Guilford County residents connect to their community while capturing a permanent record of countless local governmental meetings and decisions, news, events and stories of “ordinary people” doing extraordinary things. 

My husband (of 38 years) and I have a son and a daughter, both married, and four young grandchildren who remind us to find wonder in the simplest of things, never outgrow laughter and “feel the music.” 

Our two canine “kids,” Rudy and Ella, are sweet, loyal companions who are such a wonderful example of unconditional love (if you can love me first thing in the morning, with hair sticking straight up and before coffee, that’s unconditional!).

I love to read, spend time by the water, learn about “all things local” and exercise – but above all, I treasure time with family and close friends.  
leon stokes, IT director

Born and raised in Guilford County, I was schooled at Sternberger Elementary, Kiser Middle, Smith and Grimsley high schools. My high school experience was in the busing era, so I became a school bus driver on my 16th birthday. I have an undergraduate degree in chemistry from UNCG and attended Duke University for graduate studies in biochemistry and genetics.

I’ve loved watching and playing sports all my life. Also, I enjoy boating, water sports and anything that keeps me near or on the water.

I have worked in IT for almost 40 years of my professional career. Since my wife started the Northwest Observer 26 year ago, I have overseen all things technical and IT-related at her business. In 2022 I sold the company I had owned for several years, which developed, sold and supported software applications, and continue to work as a software engineer. 

In my role as both PS Communications worker and husband, I’ve enjoyed watching the business grow over the years and it has made me acutely aware of the personal challenges of being in such a public forum. In most of our work lives, if we make a mistake or if someone disagrees with us, it stays inside the workplace. In the newspaper business our mistakes and disagreements are there for all the world to see.
kelli jessup, publisher's assistant

I grew up in northwest Guilford County, attended Oak Ridge Elementary, Northwest Middle and Northwest High School, then earned my bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. After college I did a variety of work in the public service field, always enjoying graphic design work on the side. My professional work took a different turn when I joined PS Communications in June 2019 as the publisher’s assistant; in this role I’ve been given the opportunity to develop as a graphic designer while learning about marketing and many other things related to the publishing side of our company.

My husband, our three children, and our dog, Doug, live in northwest Greensboro.

When not working and giving my attention to my family, I enjoy reading, crafting, exercising and visiting local parks. 
rene collins, administrative assistant

I moved to Summerfield when I was 5 years old and have lived in the area since. My husband, Roy, and I have twin sons, Lucas and Seth, who have both long since jumped the nest. The only “kid” still living at home is my sweet Aussie-Doodle, Jenk. Besides Jenk, I also have grandcats and granddogs, Harley, Paco, Jorge, Rufus, Dave and Ranger, and our fur babies are very much a part of the family.

I retired from FedEx in August 2019 after 27 years, but was not totally ready to leave the work force. I was fortunate to find a very part-time job with PS Communications, and I consider it a blessing.

In my spare time, I love to read, do various crafts and go antiquing.  

chris burritt, staff writer 

I grew up in northwest Greensboro and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, where I studied journalism and played on the JV basketball team. 

After graduating from college, I began my newspaper career by working as a reporter for the State Port Pilot, the weekly newspaper in Southport, North Carolina. From there I moved on to the daily paper in Greenville, South Carolina, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as a business reporter and editor, and then as a Greensboro-based reporter covering North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Later, I worked as a financial reporter for Bloomberg News. 

After beginning my newspaper career about 43 years ago, I returned to community news in 2018, when I became the lead writer/reporter for PS Communications’ community newspaper and niche publications.

On a personal note, I have two adult children, Christopher and Alice. I live on the 26-acre farm where I grew up. When not working, I enjoy walking my dogs, gardening and helping my girlfriend, Rebecca, tend her horses, chickens and two pigs, Prim and Mimi. 
tom mccoy, distribution 

I was born in Greenwich Village, in New York City. I earned my bachelor’s degree in history from the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, and in 1979 settled on Long Island. 

My wife Nancy and I have been married for 41 years, we have two grown children, Tom and Julie, and numerous rescue pets. I worked many years as a national credit manager for Olympus and Nikon.

Nancy and I moved to Stokesdale in 2007 and I joined the PS Communications’ team in 2021 as a part-time distribution person.

My hobbies include making stained glass panels, singing in the choir, cooking killer ribs and baking very addictive chocolate chip cookies.
annette joyce, contributing writer

After graduating from Appalachian State University, I married my high school sweetheart, Kelly Joyce, and we moved to the Kernersville area.

I’ve had a variety of jobs over the years, including handling the marketing for an embroidery machine distributor, the Greensboro Dynamo soccer team and a local retirement facility. I’ve also worked as a Realtor and have been a contributing writer with Northwest Observer for the last 19 years.

I knew very few people when I moved to Stokesdale in 2001. Working with PS Communications has given me the opportunity to learn about the community and meet some really great people. I feel very fortunate to have been able to write about many of these people, and to see their stories shared with our community.
lily pierce, contributing writer

I graduated from UNCG with a bachelor’s degree in English and am a Summerfield resident. I enjoy writing for my blog, www.retrospectivelily.com (which covers everything from faith-based devotionals to sustainability tips), reading books (classic fiction or nonfiction on history and social issues), making YouTube videos (on similar topics as my blog), and teaching Sunday School and doing other volunteer work for my church, Gideon Grove United Methodist Church in Stokesdale. 

I have a rare disease, Friedreich’s Ataxia, and spend ample time exercising and myth-busting disability stereotypes/stigmas through blog posts and videos. 

I’m a lover of all things plant-related and a big supporter of small businesses, crafters and creators. As for my job with PS Communications, I love working in a field related to what I studied in college and am passionate about – most liberal arts majors can’t say the same! :)