Caring Karen

Community member tills her life with giving back to Craig

It's been 25 years since Karen Brown moved to Craig, and in that time she's become addicted to watching boys grapple and sorting through other people's stuff.

Brown is a Moffat County wrestling fan and she works at the Community Budget Center.

"I'm addicted to wrestling," she said. "My son is out of school but we still try to watch as much as we can."

Her son, Kaleb, is now 20 years old. His best finish was third place at state his senior year in 2004.

"We watched him since seventh grade and we watched with the same parents all the way until he graduated," she said. "It was a lot of fun."

Being thrifty

Nine years ago, Brown took a job at CBC after working at City Market for 10 years. The avid antique collector thought that a job at the thrift store would be right down her alley.

She has stayed at CBC because she said she loves the job.

"Every day is different," she said. "It tends to be a lot of hard work."

There's more to the non-profit CBC than clothing and knick-knacks that people have dropped off.

The store provides assistance to those in need in Craig. Brown said local agencies come to the CBC for help with the needy with food, shelter, clothing and rent.

"I love that we can help out the community on a regular basis," she said. "I think that part of our business is something not many people realize."

Brown said a typical day for her at the center varies from paper work to sorting and pricing items to filling up trashcans.

"We are particular about what we accept," she said. "We fill our trash can five days a week."

The racks and shelves at CBC are filled with items donated by community members. Brown said the most unique item she ever saw was a set of gold teeth. That was before "grills" or fake gold teeth were popular with the kids.

"I'm not sure what we were supposed to do with those teeth," she said. "Somebody was either without some teeth or they thought we could reuse them."

DBA president

About 15 months ago, Brown accepted the presidency of the Downtown Business Association. The DBA is made up of business owners in downtown Craig.

"The business owners downtown are a fun, diverse group of people," she said. "From my experience they work well together and care about the community."

Other downtown businesses aid the CBC by helping price items people drop off at the store.

"I love going over to Kester Jewelry and playing with the cat while Rich (the owner) helps us price an item," she said.

One of the DBA's largest projects every year is Grand Olde West Days during Memorial Day weekend. Brown said the festival is one way the DBA tries to keep downtown a vital part of the community.

"The beautiful old buildings and the great, unique businesses are important," she said. "We hope to keep it alive and active."

'It's home now'

Brown moved with her husband, Harold, to Craig in 1981, which was a year after they were married. Karen grew up in Grand Junction and moved with Harold when he took a job in the oil and gas industry.

They raised two children, Chelsea, 22, and Kaleb during their time here. Both children live in Craig.

"It's home now," she said. "We really enjoy the people and the opportunities."

She sings in the choir and teaches Sunday school at the Assembly of God. She spends time collecting antiques, but she said she doesn't get first dibs on items brought into the CBC.

"Those aren't my items to take," she said.

Brown said she didn't see a reason to change what she's been doing in Craig.

"We love it here," she said. "People care about you and there's something for everybody."

David Pressgrove can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com.

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