Hometown Hero: Barbara Sonntag lends a helping hand
November 4, 2013
Barbara Jean Sonntag always wanted to help people. Sometimes in just a simple way by offering a hug or telling a stranger that she loved them.
"I'd say, you know what, I love you just the way you are," she said.
People might be surprised by her forward adoration, but grateful. They'd come back and thank her, she said.
She has "faith in other people," said Sonntag's former co-worker, Trayce Shanebrook. "We all get cynical sometimes. She sees the good in everybody. She doesn't see bad in anybody. That's just an inspiration in itself."
Sonntag cares for people who have fallen into the margins of society. That's why she teaches classes at the Public Safety Center. She works with women in the jail to help them get back on the right path.
She relies on her belief in God to guide her through her life and helping people.
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"It's counseling, of course," Sonntag said. "In a Christian way."
She always has a spare copy of “The Purpose Driven Life,” a Christian look at how a person could find meaning.
Sometimes the people who are in Moffat County Jail are there because of poor self-esteem, she said, and she wants to change that.
"When you work with someone and let them know they're good, they're loved and they have work to do, their faces just light up," Sonntag said. "That's my job. To make people know they're worth something."
Sonntag is bubbly and warm and a constant kidder. And she wants to share that with everyone.
"People don't want to be alone," she said.
But Sonntag doesn't just teach at the jail. She takes her attitude everywhere with her.
Shanebrook related a story about a co-worker who became seriously ill and had to be flown to the Grand Junction hospital.
"Sonntag went all the way to Junction just to be with her and pray with her," she said.
Sonntag maintains a joyful attitude even though her husband's health is failing. In early October, he suffered a severe stroke and was given little time to live. He holds on, she said, because God wants to keep him alive long enough to see his granddaughter's soon-to-be born baby.
"I am so blessed," she said.
Erin Fenner can be reached at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.