Barrera Triumphs in Innovia’s Photo Contest

Sonja Barrera’s photo titled “Paralympian Tyler Byers Leading the Field” won first place in the Innovia Foundation photo contest within the “Nonprofit Mission in Action” category.
Photo By: Sonja Barrera

Deer Park’s Sonja Barrera wins Innovia Foundation’s 2023 photo contest in the “Nonprofit Mission in Action” category. She also received an honorable mention for a photo entitled “Joy.”

Congratulations to Deer Park resident photographer Sonja Barrera for her exceptional achievement of winning the Innovia Foundation photo contest within the “Nonprofit Mission in Action” category. Her captivating image titled “Paralympian Tyler Byers Leading the Field” truly captured the moment’s essence. Barrera’s talent shines through in this photograph, taken during the rainy 2022 Edition of the Pine Cone Classic.

Sonja’s remarkable work also extends to her second photo, “Joy,” which secured an honorable mention. This heartfelt image portrays wheelchair racer Jack persevering along a wet racetrack, sporting a radiant smile despite the challenging conditions.

Photo By: Sonja Barrera

Innovia Foundation Announces 2023 Photo Contest Winners
Innovia Foundation is delighted to unveil the champions of the fourth annual “Together for Good” photo contest. Photographers from Eastern Washington and North Idaho contributed many images, capturing our local communities’ unique hearts and liveliness. The contest celebrated submissions across five categories: People, Landscape & Wildlife, Arts & Culture, Community, and Nonprofit Mission in Action.

The winning images were captured within Innovia’s extensive 20-county service area. The list of victors is detailed below, and a comprehensive exhibition of the winning entries is available at

Overall Winner
“It Starts Young,” Joanie Christian, Colville, WA

People Category

  • 1st Place: “Fiddle Jam,” Lorie Palmer, Grangeville, ID
  • 2nd Place tie: “Cathy Del Pizzo of Serve Spokane,” Brandon Vasquez, Spokane, WA, and “Monster Truck Awe at the Spokane County Fair,” Shelley Engle, Spokane, WA
  • 3rd Place: “I Make the World a Better Place,” Brian Newberry, Spokane, WA

Landscape & Wildlife Category

  • 1st Place: “Fight to the Finish,” Joanie Christian, Colville, WA
  • 2nd Place: “A Kaleidoscope of Joy,” Phyllis Slayton, Stevens, WA
  • 3rd Place: “Arches at Latah,” Larry Conboy, Spokane, WA

Arts & Culture Category

  • 1st Place: “It Starts Young,” Joanie Christian, Colville, WA
  • 2nd Place: “Christmas in Nordman,” Jennae Pegg, Priest River, ID
  • 3rd Place tie: “Frosty Remnant of the Past,” Joanie Christian, Colville, WA, and “Pomeroy Christmas 1922,” Eric Argyle, Pomeroy, WA

Community Category

  • 1st Place: “Second Harvest Inland Northwest Sunset,” Brandon Vasquez, Spokane, WA
  • 2nd Place: “Celebrating Summer,” Patti Livingstone, Spokane, WA
  • 3rd Place: “Earth Day Every Day,” Jimmy Matlosz, Sandpoint, ID

Nonprofit Mission in Action Category

  • 1st Place: “Tyler Byers, Paralympian,” Sonja Barrera, Deer Park, WA
  • 2nd Place: “Coming Together to Learn a New Piece of Equipment,” Allison Turcotte, Ponderay, ID
  • 3rd Place: “Volunteers Load Food,” Brandon Vasquez, Spokane, WA

The overall winner had the privilege of designating a nonprofit recipient of a $1,000 grant, while winners in each category chose a nonprofit to receive a $200 grant. The selected organizations for the grants are as follows:

  • Overall winner, first place winner of Landscape & Wildlife, and first place winner of Arts & Culture, Joanie Christian, selected Stevens County Fire District #9 Little Pend Oreille Lakes Fire Station and WSU Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
  • First place winner of People, Lorie Palmer, selected Animal Rescue Foundation, Inc.
  • First place winner of Community, Brandon Vasquez, selected Second Harvest Inland Northwest.
  • First place winner of Nonprofit Mission in Action, Sonja Barrera, selected Parasport.

About Innovia Foundation
Serving Eastern Washington and North Idaho, Innovia Foundation collaborates with individuals committed to enhancing their communities and effecting positive global change. By jointly identifying and addressing regional prospects, extending assistance to those in need, and fostering lasting impacts, they endeavor to kindle generosity that engenders transformation in both lives and communities. Their vision encompasses thriving and sustainable communities where every individual thrives. Annually, Innovia Foundation allocates over $10 million towards community betterment through grants and scholarships.


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