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MEEKER | Meeker newcomers Neil and Tonya Bennett are this week’s “home of” honorees.
“Tonya came here right before the snow hit and I arrived here shortly after,” Neil explained. The Bennetts celebrated their third wedding anniversary Oct. 10. They met each other at a church salsa dance, discovered they had the same interests and were married two months later.
Tonya is a traveling physical therapist. She works for ATG Medical, based in Nebraska, and currently is filling in at Pioneers Hospital.
Neil is a professional photographer. He recently opened a studio upstairs in Suite 1 of the Hugus Building. He does wedding, portrait, freelance, lifestyle/adventure and fashion photography. He has costumes available for recreating photos from the Roaring ‘20s, the prohibition era, the 1930s and the 1940s.
Besides being a photographer, Neil developed “Squid Candy,” which is a glow-in-the-dark fishing lure for catching saltwater squid. He also has designed websites for others and himself.
Neil served in the Army for four years in the early ‘80s, then re-enlisted in the Army Reserves after 9-11. He was a correctional officer in Texas, California and Washington State for 15 years. He was married for four months when an inmate injured him. His wife was instrumental in helping Neil recover.
Neil has two children: son Dylan, 14, and daughter Megan, 17. They live with their mother in Elma, Wash.
The Bennetts are outdoor enthusiasts. They enjoy mountain climbing, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and bow hunting. Neil just recently tried ice climbing.
“I was born in Colorado Springs and moved away when I was 12. I’ve always loved the mountains and the snow. Meeker is great. It has everything — horses, hunting and fishing. The people here are really friendly, that’s nice,” Neil added.
Neil’s Squid Candy website is www.squidfishingwa.com. His photography website is www.neilbennett.com and www.outdooroar.com is a website that highlights the Bennetts’ outdoor adventures and photography pages.