Farrah Etcheverry, a native of Cottonwood, Arizona, has been working for the Railroad for about five months. In Farrah’s own words, “I love it! I really enjoy dealing with the tourists, helping people find what they need and making them smile.” With reasons we don’t have to explain, Farrah is now featured in many of our promotional photography for the Railroad.
When not working, Farrah is studying to become a registered nurse. “My future ambitions are getting my nursing degree and raising a terrific family.” She is happily expecting her first child, which may cut into time enjoying hobbies like hunting, swimming, camping and riding horses.
Along with her two sisters and brother, her parents and grandfather taught them to ride when they were very young. In eighth grade Farrah got Cowgirl, her own 22-year-old mare. “The greatest gift I’ve ever received,” she says. By her freshman year in high school, along with being a member of the Mingus diving team, Farrah rode in Gymkhana events in Phoenix and spent spring break learning to barrel race. After her first barrel run Farrah says, “I knew it was for me.” She bought a younger horse and entered every barrel race she could. None of her siblings took to riding like she did, but the entire family continued to support her passion for riding and horses.
While in high school, Farrah enjoyed all science classes – biology, forensic science, earth science – and she believes that this, coupled with compassion for animals, led her into nursing. “I knew I couldn’t be a vet; I’m too much of a softy to see an animal in pain,” says Farrah, “but being able to assist a doctor and comfort a patient sounds great to me.” She is looking forward to finishing her degree within the next two and one-half years, and then she hopes to use her nursing degree at the Cottonwood hospital.
“As I grow up,” Farrah says, “I learn new things about myself every day, but one thing that never changes is my love for my animals and my family.”
An employee since 2009, Jenica Sherer started as a sales clerk at the Railroad’s Boxcar Gift Shop, but she is now a firstclass car attendant. Seeing the beautiful scenery outside her window on each ride is something Jenica enjoys. “All of the car attendants on the train are very nice – teaching me, very patient,” she says, adding how much she enjoys working for General Manager Robin Brean. “There’s always something happening, something to do, which I like,” Jenica says, explaining why she enjoys working on the train.
Born in Michigan, she arrived in Arizona’s Verde Valley at age eight. Homeschooled, she remains very close to her parents and sister Jamie. “I hang out with my sister all the time. I spend as much time as I can with her, helping her take care of all of the animals – ducks, goats, pigs, chickens, cows, sheep, horses, mini horses,” she laughs at the lengthy list. Jenica’s sister and brother-in-law are owners of Trail Horse Adventures, a local horseback riding and Western-experience outfitter, hence the many creatures requiring care. Other critters Jenica adores? Her two Chihuahuas: Baby and Chico. “I bring them everywhere with me,” she says.
Clarkdale Arizona Central’s maintenance of way crew keeps an active schedule in the Verde Canyon, maintaining the track for the freight and excursion operations. Since September 2009, Bruce Supalla has been a member of the track crew that spends most days in the scenic Canyon.
Born in California, Bruce spent much of his youth living in beautiful seaside locations in Australia, Alaska, Oregon and Hawaii. “Pretty much anywhere the ocean was,” he chuckles. After graduating from high school in Hawaii in 1996, Bruce moved to Cottonwood, Arizona to be near family who had relocated to the Verde Valley.
After working 13 years in drywall construction, Bruce says he is glad to be outdoors. “Being outside, seeing the wildlife,” says Bruce, is the aspect of his job that he really enjoys.
A proud father of two, Bruce is engaged to be married next May. He takes great pride in caring for his children and enjoys their time together camping and canoeing, something they’ve done since Trevor, age 7, and Kylie, age 5, were babies. An avid canoeist, Bruce says he explores the Verde Canyon every April. “It’s not an easy trip,” he says, referring to the rocky rapids and other challenges associated with run-off that creates this wild and scenic waterway in the early spring. It may have been Bruce’s early days spent on a surf board that draws him to water adventure in the middle of the high desert.
Bruce’s boss, John Doull, says of this hard-working young man, “Bruce Supalla is the Railroad’s answer to Jeremiah Johnson.”