Family ties |
Michelle Balleck

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Family ties

It's all in the family as children carry on parents' career traditions

Albert Villard keeps memories of working on the ranch with his father close to his heart.

Cutting hay and herding sheep at a young age are the things that pushed him to take over the land that has been in the Villard family since 1928.

“I just remember from way little that that’s what I wanted to do,” he said.

His grandfather, Felix, started the farm in 1928, and passed the tradition down to his son, Clair, and now to Albert. There was never a doubt in Villard’s mind that he would continue the heritage that has become a part of the family’s history.

“I remember going out in the hay field and cutting the hay,” he said. “I just remember loving doing that, even with the hay fever.”

So, even after going to a trade school for mechanics, the draw of the ranch brought him back home.

He now owns the equipment and 1,000 head of sheep he runs on the 13,000 acres he leases from his parents and younger brother, Kevin.

“I just liked being out in the open and working for myself,” he said.

Cody Draper also remembers time spent with his father, Marv, at work at the family insurance agency, Draper Insurance Group.

He helped his dad after school in the office and knew he eventually wanted to work there.

“It’s a need that everybody has, and I just wanted to fulfill it,” he said. “Pretty much since freshman year I knew I wanted to take over.”

But, like Villard, he took some time to himself before returning to Craig and the insurance world.

He spent time in Alaska and Fort Collins before moving back home.

“Everybody has to get out and experience the world a bit,” Draper said.

He has three older brothers, one of whom went into insurance with a different company. The other two are in different fields.

“They’re kind of jealous they didn’t get into it,” he said.

Pete Bergmann’s family has gotten into the education field. He is the superintendent of the Moffat County School District, and his wife, Deb, is a first-grade teacher at Ridgeview Elementary School.

Pete began his career as a science teacher at the Moffat County High School, and similarly, his son, Chris, began his first job as an earth science and physics teacher at Wheatridge High School a few weeks ago.

“I think he’ll make a great teacher,” Pete said.

And he thinks his son knows what he’s getting himself into.

“He had grown up in an education family,” he said. “He’s seen that profession from an insider’s point of view.”

His daughter, Lauren, does, too. As a Colorado State University student, she’s majoring in early childhood education.

“She has been involved with my wife and other teachers in the district,” Pete said. “She’s been hanging around that environment for a while.”

He and Deb are excited for the opportunity to have a long-distance mentor program with their children as they watch them grow into successful teachers.

He thinks the family’s interests led them to seek careers in education, and that’s something they all share.

“I look at our family as people-orientated, where relationships are important, and we have a desire to help other people succeed,” Pete said. “Our kids were around that culture in our homes and in our schools.”

Villard hopes his young children will grow up to share his profession, as well. Making the choice to continue the family ranching career is something he knows pleased his father.

“It makes him really glad,” Villard said. “He wanted to see it go on, just to keep the family heritage.”