#WHYoming: Bernadine Craft

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Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.

We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?

This week, I had a chance to sit down with Bernadine Craft. In many ways, she could be seen as a community leader. If one may know her from a variety of leadership roles within Sweetwater County and Wyoming as a whole.

She is the Executive Director for the Sweetwater Board of Cooperative Educational Services (SBOCES), and is an adjunct instructor at WWCC. She also maintains a small private psychotherapy practice.

She served served ten years in the Wyo. Legislature, most recently serving Senate District #12 in the Senate.

Craft is the Priest at Holy Communion Episcopal Church in Rock Springs, as well as the Dean of the Red Desert Region.

She chairs the Development Committee for the Foundation of the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming; and is the Chairperson of the Diocesan Suicide Prevention and Intervention Task Force.


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Bernadine, how did you end up in Rock Springs?

I was born in Rock Springs. After graduation from RSHS, I lived in Salt Lake where I got BA and MA degrees from the University of Utah and worked as a high school counselor, returning to RS to be the counselor at White Mountain Jr. High.

I left again for Colorado to receive my PhD, but chose to return to RS, this time with my husband Larry.

“There’s an old cowboy poem that says once sagebrush gets in your blood, you can never really leave; that has certainly been true in my case!”

~ Bernadine Craft
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What is something unique about you?

I am the only woman, and possibly the only individual, to have simultaneously served as a parish priest and in the Wyoming Senate.

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What do you appreciate most about our community?

The people. I am firmly convinced that the most wonderful people I have ever met in my life l have met in Sweetwater County.

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If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?


“‘Bloom where you are planted.’ Instead of complaining and finding fault with the circumstances of your life, look for opportunities to improve them.

~ Bernadine Craft


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Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?

I’m not really known as the outdoor type, but my favorite Sweetwater County place is actually anywhere in the Red Desert, especially at sunset.

“The beauty, the quietness and the vastness of the space calm and connect me; all my ‘problems’ suddenly seem very small.”

~ Bernadine Craft

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Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse or drive a car?

I love to walk!

It’s one of my favorite ways to relax, even if it’s something for which I rarely take the time—my bad!

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What would you sing at karaoke night?

My most recent karaoke night experience was helping the Senate defeat the House in our annual karaoke competition.

As I was the only woman in the Senate, the guys sang “She’s a Lady.” I was their dancer—you really don’t want to hear me sing!

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How would your friends describe you?

Probably as far too busy and way too over committed.

I tend to worry about that myself, but it seems I have always chosen to live my life with a high level of involvement in many different things.
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What is your proudest accomplishment?

The night I was ordained as an Episcopal priest. It was the fulfillment of a lifelong but unattainable dream, as for many years women could not be ordained.

I went to seminary while I was also working full time and serving in the Senate, making the road long and challenging, but the most rewarding experience of my life.

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Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

A movie about me would be a box-office bust so she’d never accept the role, but a dream choice would be Meryl Streep.

 

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Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?

Wyoming is, quite simply, my home.

All the important times of my life have occurred here; the people and the places I have loved the best are, or have been, here.

I love to travel, and I love to explore new places, but Wyoming will always have my heart.”

~ Bernadine Craft

 

 

If you’d like us to interview yourself or someone you know for #WHYoming, please send us suggestions to Lillian@sweetwaternow.com