Moffat County Locals: Lorrae Moon has made an impact over 24 years, 262,000 miles

Lorrae Moon, owner and operator of Yampa Valley Fiberworks, overlooks product inside the mill. Moon, along with her husband, opened the small business in 2013. Moon also drives a school bus for Moffat County School District.
Joshua Carney

Lorrae Moon likes to say she’s really only traveled 50 miles in her lifetime.

Born in Steamboat Springs and raised in Milner, Northwest Colorado is all Moon has known during her time on this earth. She’s perfectly happy with it being that way.

“We have really deep roots,” Moon said. “We love where we’re at; we wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Moon has always been involved locally, too. The owner of Yampa Valley Fiberworks with her husband, she is a bus driver for Moffat County School District, and a former 4-H leader. Moon has always had her finger on the pulse of the community through her many jobs here in the area.

The Craig resident has driven the same route in Moffat County on County Road 7 for 24 years (29 total years driving a bus), and was involved in 4-H in Moffat County dating back to the 1980s before retiring for a brief time. Hard work and dedication drive her, making her a shining example of what it means to be a local in Moffat County.

“I have to be involved,” Moon said from the patio of Yampa Valley Fiberworks in early December. “I can’t complain about the entries being down at the Fair, or I can’t complain about a bus driver if I’m not involved each and every day, getting up in the morning and trying to make an impact.

“I’ve got to be part of it to help the solution if there is something that needs to be changed, or if we just want to keep it going good,” Moon added. “If we can just be strong, dedicated people in our own little community, we can keep it going good here.”

Early on after moving to Craig, Moon quickly got involved in 4-H and started driving a bus for the school district. Through her time in 4-H and with the community, Moon has seen quite a bit in her time, especially through driving the school bus.

“I’ve been doing it 24 years, so I’ve raised about 4 sets of kids from kindergarten all through, you know?” Moon said. “I know the kids well and I know their families well; I feel like I’m part of their family. I feel like it’s my road, and I’ve been on the same bus.

“When I first started, it had like 34,000 miles on it; it now has 296,000 miles on it.”

Interestingly enough, starting as a bus driver was pretty comparable to the rest of her life: jump right in and figure it out as she goes.

To hear Moon tell it, there was no real training.

“I applied one day, took a test drive with the superintendent then — ‘Big John’ — and then I was hired,” Moon said laughing. “I didn’t even know how to do proper stops or anything like that.”

Years later, Moon had to certify with a CDL after she missed grandfa- thering in by 2 months’ experience. Since then, she’s slid behind the wheel of her bus every morning and afternoon to transport the children to and from school.

“They’re the most precious cargo,” Moon said. “I was a helicopter mom, which led to me driving a bus, and now I really couldn’t imagine not doing it.”

Despite being very busy with driving the bus and being involved with 4-H, Moon and her husband opened Yampa Valley Fiberworks six years ago, becoming a 6-day-a-week local business.

If she was busy before that, she appears to be overloaded now, but that hasn’t wiped the smile off of her face or erased the joy from her heart. In fact, it’s made her happier.

“We love it,” Moon said. “Yes, it’s a very busy job, but it’s so important to the area. I consider us a very cottage industry and meaningful. My son and I once had a yarn business, so this played right into it when we bought the herd of sheep.

“I just have a strong urge to keep local things going,” Moon added.
“I want to keep these local farmers and ranchers sustainable, making a little bit more money off of their hard work and keeping their pas- sions alive.”

Sounds quite a bit like a local, through and through.

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