Chemistry’s the thing: Craig couple named award winners |

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Chemistry’s the thing: Craig couple named award winners

Laughter key for David and Julie Dempster in life, volunteerism, family

David Dempster, left, and his wife, Julie, second from right, pose with their daughter, Brynnae, 14, and son, Ethan, 11, at the Bank of Colorado. David and Julie balance raising their two children with volunteering with multiple local organizations.

David and Julie Dempster bio:

Ages: David, 42, and Julie, 38

Residence: Craig

Occupations: David, Bank of Colorado branch president; Julie, substitute teacher for the Moffat County School District

Volunteer activities:

— David: Colorado Northwestern Community College board member, Craig Kiwanis Club member, former Craig Chamber of Commerce and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership board member

— Julie: Craig Concert Association media liaison and volunteer for Black Mountain Theatre and Boys & Girls Club of Craig


“The chemistry, you don’t see it, I don’t think, when you meet. …But then later on in life, maybe you kind of realize, ‘Well, this is why it’s worked.’”

— Julie Dempster, a Craig resident, on her 16-year marriage to husband David. The couple has been named the Boys & Girls Club of Craig’s Man and Woman of the Year award winners

Meet David and Julie Dempster.

David is 42 — he does some quick math on a nearby calculator to make sure — and Julie says she's 37.

"Actually, you know what, I think you just turned 38," David said.

Julie paused.

"Seriously?" she said as a smile spread across her face.

The Dempsters met in 1991 at Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Neb., and married June 24, 1995.

Or was it the 25th? They can't remember for certain.

"We have that discussion every year," Julie said. "It's on the calendar."

Don't hold it against the Dempsters if mundane facts like ages and dates sometimes elude them.

Between holding down jobs, raising two children and volunteering with multiple organizations, they've got a lot to keep track of.

One unforgettable date that stands out in their minds: Memorial Day weekend, 1997, the weekend when the Dempsters arrived in Craig from the Scottsbluff area.

"When you come in with the parade, it's kind of hard to forget," Julie said.

In the more than 10 years since, the Dempsters have done more than put down roots.

They've also supported local organizations, including the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

The Bank of Colorado, where David works as branch president, has been a long-time financial supporter of the club.

Julie helped organize and host one of the first Cowboy Christmas fundraisers for the club. She's also been involved with the annual Girls to Women conference, first as a speaker, then as a volunteer, and most recently as the event's coordinator.

Their support is why the club selected them for its Man and Woman of the Year award, said Dana Duran, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Colorado.

"They give their time and their finances to make the club a stronger place," she said. "… (David) and Julie are involved in multiple facets of our community and (are) just striking role models as how people can live and give back to their community and be a part of it."

The Dempsters support the Boys & Girls Club because they believe in what it does.

The club offers an alternative, they said, especially for families in which both parents work.

In this respect, Julie said, the Dempsters are lucky.

She's able to make choices that allow her to be with their children, Brynnae, 14, and Ethan, 11. She substitute teaches with the Moffat County School District, and volunteers with organizations that allow her to complete most of her tasks during the day.

"So I try to find that balance between volunteering and working and being a parent," she said.

The list of the couple's volunteer contributions is lengthy.

David is a Colorado Northwestern Community College board member, a Craig Kiwanis Club member, and a former board member for the Craig Chamber of Commerce and the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership board.

Julie volunteers with Black Mountain Theatre and is the media liaison for the Craig Concert Association, where her work has garnered praise from Faye McKune, the organization's president.

"She is awesome," McKune said. "She's always coming up with creative ideas to promote the association."

With all these activities, striking a life balance is sometimes elusive.

"In your heart, you want to help programs succeed," Julie said, "and then you take that time away from your family and you have to make that up somehow."

When schedules get hectic, however, David and Julie have each other to lean on.

"If there is something that I've got going, then yeah, (David's) going to cook dinner," Julie said.

"Which I don't mind," he said.

"Which I'm very grateful for," Julie said.

"Yeah, put that in there, would you?" David said as Julie laughed.

This is one thing you will notice about the Dempsters: laughing together is routine.

Their sense of humor is something they share, they said, just as they share a mutual respect for each other's different activities and interests.

A marriage can't be simplified to a neat equation, any more than a balance between work, family and community can be effortlessly achieved.

But, if there's a key to why their relationship has worked, it's that respect and understanding, Julie said.

Of course, these things often appear only in hindsight.

"The chemistry, you don't see it, I don't think, when you meet," Julie said. "…But then later on in life, maybe you kind of realize, 'Well, this is why it's worked.'"

— Bridget Manley can be reached at 875-1793 or