Monday Morning Chat: Betty Barnes
January 30, 2012
Where is your hometown? "I was born in Asheville, N.C."
When did you first move to Craig? "My dad came to Hayden in 1964 to work on the first unit of the power plant when I was in junior high. My husband and I still live in Hayden, but I started coming here a lot for my business."
Motto or outlook on life? "Life is not a dress rehearsal. You've got to live every day like it counts and make a difference for other people and for yourself."
How did you first get involved in your job? "I had been coming to this dry cleaners for several years and bringing in my clothes for Gary Loyd to clean. He was looking to sell and probably leave the area and I thought that might be a pretty good business to have. As a customer, you have no idea what goes on behind the counter and I had no dry-cleaning experience and no business experience, in fact. I was a stay-at-home mom when my kids were growing up and did some different jobs."
Favorite part of your job? "The people of Craig have been very welcoming of me, and I know the business has been here for about 60 years with Gary and his father. I've felt a real loyalty from people and it's given me an opportunity to get to know a lot of families and businesspeople."
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Favorite part of life in Northwest Colorado? "The people. We have close-knit communities here because we're rural and remote and we form bonds with people that I think we wouldn't if we lived in a bigger area. There's a lot of community spirit and people pulling together. I see it in Hayden and Craig, like starting a fundraiser and pulling together to make things better for others and make it all work. It's just an awesome thing."
Favorite meal from a local restaurant? "The prime rib sandwich from J.W. Snack's with a side of okra. People think okra is kind of slimy, but if you get it fried, it's kind of like eating French fries."
A store or restaurant you'd like to see in the area? "When Walmart set up, I liked the idea of having the Sonic with the whole drive-in thing. Maybe we could get something like a Herberger's, where you'd have a little different choice as far as clothing and bedding and things like that."
How would you describe your life to a person you'd just met? "I feel like I'm very blessed. I haven't had a lot of hardships in my life, and I've been married to the same person for 44 years with two wonderful children and grandchildren."
Proudest accomplishment? "Right after Hurricane Katrina, there was a group of us who went to New Orleans, and we were also able to go a second time. There's another group going in April to help in Joplin, Mo. I'm glad that I'm able to reach out and make life better for other people. I'd been to New Orleans several times before, and seeing people with their whole life in a crate that you'd put Christmas decorations or out-of-season clothes in was very humbling, seeing how they just picked up and moved on. We did a very small amount, but it just gave you a good feeling to be part of it."
— Interview by Andy Bockelman, For the Daily Press