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She Lives With Her Hands Up

Last summer I heard the most amazing message by Taylor McNeal, Past National FFA officer, who spoke at the Colorado FFA State Convention. She shared the message of living with your hands up. To take less and give more by being open to serving the people around you. A message of learning to live with more compassion and less boundaries in a more fulfilled life. Living hands up means giving more of yourself than taking and living for the greater good of a cause you believe it.

Tootie Crowner as Jackson County Commissioner

This message really resonates with a local Hidden Gem of our community. However, this hidden gem is rarely out of site because she is so busy living her life hands up. This person has made a life dedicated to serving the people in Jackson County from volunteer work to assisting with numerous needs. She has a heart of gold and goes out of her comfort zone to help whenever, wherever help is needed. Anyone that knows “Tootie” Crowner knows this is by no means an exaggeration.

James Carothers, friend and colleague on a variety of projects, says “Tootie is an exceptional friend, the kind of friend a person only dreams of having. She is always there when anyone needs her.” In Carothers restaurant, Moose Creek Café’, Tootie comes to eat and ends up filling glasses, grabbing silverware, clearing tables and sometimes in the kitchen just because she can see a need for help. She asks for nothing in return, her reward is the fulfillment of lending a hand to another.

Naida "Tootie" Simson-Crowner 1967 Senior Class at NPHS

Nadia “Tootie” Crowner was born and raised in Jackson County. We could tell endless stories of how Tootie has served the greater good of the residents in North Park. From her time on the ranch to her life in public service, whatever phase of life she has been in, she has been serving the people around her. She has served as a leader in most every organization in North Park from the North Park Cattlewomen in the 70s to, volunteering as a 4H leader through the 70's & 80’s then serving elected offices as our Mayor in the 90's and then served as the First Woman County Commissioner into the new millennium.

County Administrator, Kent Crowder says "She's always been a hard worker, the hardest worker. I've known her forever; she initiated me in high school." Tootie initiated many of the community on how to work and has taught them what it takes to get a job done and make things happen.

Tootie was instrumental in bringing the gas line from Wyoming into the "Park" with Pinedale Gas. Employee, Graham Crews noted “she’s the reason I have a job. She’s amazing.” She’s been the glue that has kept the Chamber of Commerce adhered for over 30 years, and served in every office more than once. She's moved every set of folding chairs in the county and fed generations of children over and over.

Tootie's voice has echoed across the North Park Fair for over 30 years, as she has broadcasted the event more than 120 days of her life. She is always up before the break of dawn ready to lend a hand. I’ve seen her brewing coffee at 4 AM for Sage Grouse lek tourists then later that day driving a dump truck to help when the county is shorthanded. She goes above and beyond regardless of the role her duties require. She knows the true meaning of service and is the epitome of living with her hands up. Her volunteer roles are endless to count: JC Lions Club, NP Hospital Board, JC 4H Leader, NP Chamber of Commerce, NP Cattlewomen. There's more than I could ever remember or list I'm sure and she's served offices in them all, countless times over.

Sister and friend, Dorothy Davis shared what makes her so unique is her compassion. “She, more than anyone I’ve ever known has wanted to help people and communities. She gets involved to make things better, not for her own rewards but for the greater good. Tootie would hate to see North Park be anything but the best place in Colorado to live.” Tootie was born this way. As a small child she rescued injured animals and nursed them back to health, then cared for them throughout their lives. She continues that today and it’s my fondest childhood memory of her, reminisced her sister. As a teenager she broke and trained her own horse. She loves the beauty of nature and being outdoors. “She’s a Mom, a sister and a best friend to me. Those of us that have had her in our lives are very fortunate."

Tootie and son Johnnie Brocker at the North Park Fair

Tootie is happiest when she is busy but more happy when she sees she's helping others. She is a caregiver and wants nothing in return. Her stamina is awe inspiring. At 73 years old nothing seems to slow her down. When the Beaver Creek fire swept across the Medicine Bow Mountains last summer she went to work hauling water and assisting along with many other volunteers.

Today is an extra special day because Tootie is celebrating her 73rd birthday. No gift could ever thank her enough for what she has done for the lives of North Park; for the lives of women leaders in Jackson County or for the countless hours of volunteer work she humbly takes on. Tootie has been a gift to our community and we are the lucky ones for having her influence in our home and community.

Happy Birthday Tootie and thank you the many years you have lived "hands up" to serve the people of Walden-North Park and Jackson County.

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