casper college

Walt Schulenberg left us to go to Heaven, and sometimes that makes sense in my head, but most times, it just seems impossible. The years march on, and our lives get busy, and before we know it much more time has passed that we ever thought possible.

My father-in-law was a big part of my life…he was my second dad, and I was extremely blessed by both of my dads. They were different men in many ways, but they were also very similar in many ways too. That is probably what endeared my father-in-law to me in the first place. He had such a sweet and kind spirit. How could I have felt anything but welcome. He had a wonderful sense of humor and I found myself laughing at his antics every time. From the first time I met him, I felt like I was one of his kids too. Not everyone has the ability to make people feel that way, but Walt Schulenberg did.

Through the years, Dad could always be counted on to help with the many project a life produces. He never complained. He did it out of love…love for his kids and his grandkids, and later his great grandkids. His children blessed him with many of these, and he, in turn, blessed them with many treasures, material yes, but also the treasures of his heart and the love he had for them. We were all blessed by the love he had for us.

Dad was a hard working man. He was a loyal employee, and well liked by his bosses over the years. I think one of his favorite jobs was the one he had driving T-Birds of Casper College to many of their sporting evens and such. It gave him the opportunity travel around and still get paid for it…plus, he loved the kids. I think he always enjoyed young people, because they were so full of life. I think that is one of the things I loved most about my father-in-law…he was full of life. Life has been very different since he left us, and we miss him very much.

My grand nephew, James Renville has been working hard, going to college, and living at home with his mom, Toni Chase and step-dad, Dave Chase. It has been a good way to go for James, because he attended Casper College, and his parents live in Casper, so why pay for a dorm or apartment. James and his parents get along very well, so it has worked out nicely. In addition, living at home gives James’ the ability to enjoy the family dog, which he could not have in a dorm or in most apartments. James has always had a dogs, and right now they Biscuit and Cricket, and they would be lonely without James.

James graduated from college in May, with a degree in Communications and Media. I wasn’t sure just exactly what you can do with that degree, so I did a bit of research. Jobs directly related to your degree include: Media planner, Multimedia specialist, Program researcher, broadcasting/film/video, Public relations officer, broadcasting/film/video, Social media manager, Television/film/video producer, and Web content manager…just to name a few. I’m not sure just exactly what James has in mind for his career, but he has time to explore the great possibilities for career ideas.

James may continue his education, but for right now, he’s taking a break from school. He is working at Home Depot right now, and saving his money, because he wants to travel overseas again. James visited the Netherlands a couple of times, where he has a close friend, and that really gave him the travel bug. His job and living at home allows him to put his money into his travel plans. James has big plans for his life, possibly including moving out of Wyoming, but nothing is set in stone right now, so I guess time will tell. Of course, we hope he doesn’t go too far. Still, the future is wide open, and I’m excited to see where it will take him. Today is James’ birthday. Happy birthday James!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My niece, Gaby Beach spent much of her post high school years in the Navy. She worked very hard to get there, and continues to be an exercise enthusiast, and an inspiration to many people who would love to have such determination to stick to a program. She needed to get in shape to get into the Navy, and she wasn’t going to let anything stand in her way, especially something like a lack of determination. Now, she works out just about every day, because she doesn’t ever want to go back to a time when she was not physically fit.

While in the Navy, Gaby had the opportunity to be involved in a program that brought dogs into hospitals for the purpose of healing through comfort. Gaby loved that program, and since my mother-in-law was in a nursing home the last 5 years of her life, I can attest to the value of these dogs. So many of the residents loved the dogs that belonged to employees of the facility, and who wandered around the facility, “making their rounds” as it were. They were almost like little canine doctors. The experience was precious. The work Gaby did there was a benefit to many people.

Gaby has been a student for much of her life too, because she wants to prepare for her chosen career in nursing. Beginning January 20th, she will begin the journey through nursing school, and we are all very excited for her. During her time in the Navy, Gaby worked as a corpsman, so nursing is right up her alley. She was stationed in Japan, when she met my nephew, Allen Beach, and they have been married for four years now.

While Allen was going to school, Gaby worked, and then once Allen was hired by Wyoming Medical Center, it was Gaby’s turn. They moved to Casper, and she began the pre-requisites for the nursing program. Once those were done, she applied and was accepted into the program, and now she is waiting excitedly for the semester to begin. Gaby knows a lot about the nursing field, having come from a corpsman background, so there should be no surprises for her in the program. It is an exciting journey, and I am excited for her. Nursing school is a lot of hard work, but I know that she will do just fine, and very soon, she will be Nurse Gaby. Today is Gaby’s birthday. Happy birthday Gaby!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My grandniece, Siara Olsen got married this past summer, on June 16, 2018, to the love of her life, Nick Olsen. According to her mom, Chantel Balcerzak, Siara totally enjoys being married to someone who is as “random” as she is. Being spontaneous is a trait that not everyone can master, but if you can, you will find that life is pretty fun filled. Still, I think that there is a bit of a difference between being spontaneous, and being random. When someone is random, they tend to do “off the wall” things that the average person wouldn’t even think of. When my niece, Chantel told me a bit about Siara and Nick…well, random is about all you can call it. The kids like to go camping, but that isn’t always something that you can do all the time, so they like to camp out on their balcony…in a tent. Who would have thought of that, and yet, it sounds like fun.

Siara and Nick are very community oriented, and they like to attend all the Casper events or auctions. Siara works at Platte Valley Bank, and was involved in the booth to welcome the students back to Casper College this year. Because Siara was a cheerleader in high school and college, she is very student oriented, and likes to get the incoming students involved in the college community.

Because Siara was a cheerleader, she completely understands the game of football, making her the perfect wife for a football fan. Her dad, Dave Balcerzak and her husband, Nick both love football, so every Sunday night, Siara and Nick are over at her parents’ house, watching the game. That works out quite well, because Dave and Siara are both Steelers fans. Unfortunately, Nick is a Seahawks fan, so when the two go up against each other, all bets are off. He is supportive of her Steelers, so she is supportive of the Seahawks, sometimes. Siara and Nick are best friends, and he does his very best to spoil her…in a good way, of course. Today is Siara’s birthday. Happy birthday Siara!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Katy_edited1When I first met Katy Balcerzak, my niece, Chantel’s step daughter, she was just a little girl. I remember thinking what a great dad her dad, Dave is. Katy and her older brother Kiefer were such good little kids. When a blended family first meets the rest of the family, sometimes things don’t go as well and everyone had hoped, but that was not the case with Dave and his kids. They were very sweet and we loved them immediately. That has been a number of years, of course, and the kids are grown up now. Keifer is married, and Katy is engaged. I have a really hard time believing that they are so grown up. As with all kids, the years have flown by so quickly.

These days, Katy is a nanny, but that is only temporary, because Katy has been accepted into the two year nursing program at Casper College. Things are changing quite rapidly for Katy now. With her wedding coming up this summer, and her studies lined out, everything is looking toward a great future. I think Katy will make an awesome nurse. She has a winning smile, and the ability to add a positive note to any situation…and isn’t that exactly what is needed when you are in a doctor’s office, or a hospital. Whenever you go to see a doctor, you are worried that they are going to tell you something is really wrong. A nurse with a positive attitude and a comforting way about her, can go a long ways toward making you feel at ease. Of course, not all the news is good news, and when a nurse is needed to give care in the hospital, everyone wants one whose smile can make you feel better. I don’t know what type of nursing Katy plans to go 12247959_801102820012326_2711983612513020629_ointo, and maybe she doesn’t either, yet. I have found that many nurses start out in one area of nursing, but later change to another. Time will tell what area of nursing will become Katy’s chosen field, but I’m sure that she will be great at any area of nursing she chooses.

It’s just so strange to think Dave’s little girl is all grown up, and is going to be a nurse. The years have changed her in so many ways, and yet, in other ways, she is still her daddy’s little girl. Before we all know it, she and her future husband, Jake Collett will be starting a family of their own, but…that’s another story. Today is Katy’s birthday. Happy birthday Katy!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Dad SchulenbergIt is so hard for me to believe that as of today, it has been three years since Walter Schulenberg, my father-in-law, left us to go to Heaven. For 38 years he had been such an integral part of my life. From the first time I met him, he made me feel welcome. It was as if I had been a part of this family all my life. My father-in-law had such a gentle, kind way about him. I really don’t think that there was a single person that ever considered him anything but a friend. He just wasn’t the kind of man to create enemies…just more and more friends. His laugh alone was a friend making machine.

My father-in-law worked assorted jobs over the years, but his last job before retiring scan0099was with Casper College, where he was officially in maintanence, but in reality he was a jack of all trades. I have to think that one of the jobs he did at the College, if you could call it a job, was to drive the bus for the T-Birds. He went on a number of trips with them, and saw some great places. He got to see the ocean again. It was not the first time by any means, but he did love the ocean, and really enjoyed walking in the sand with his bare feet, something you seldom saw anywhere else. He almost always had shoes on.

He was the kind of man who would go out of his way to help others, and did his best not to ask for anythng in scan0101return. Nevertheless, in his last few years, he and my mother-in-law, Joann Schulenberg needed help. He had Emphesyma and she had Alzheimer’s disease. The family stepped in to help, and I had the ability to be the main caregiver. I say ability, but in reality, it was a blessing to me. We became so close over those last years, and it is a time that, even though it was the ending days of his life, I still cherish. I wish those hadn’t been the last years of his life, but I am thankful for the close relationship my being over at their house so much created. He said I was a blessing to him, but I think it was the other way around. Dad, I can’t believe you have been gone for three years already. We love and miss you very much.

22233_1349878794257_6688345_nJames, it is so hard to believe that yet another of my grand nephews is graduating. It still seems like you should be just a little boy. I know that is crazy, because you and Caalab are the same age, and you are ten days older in fact. The years have flown by so quickly. I remember the day you were born, and every milestone in between that day and graduation. Now you are a man, and we couldn’t be more proud of the man you have become. You are a quiet man much of the time, but the little kids all love being around you so much. Watching you yesterday with Aleesia, and all the fun she was having climbing all over you, and then Raelynn and Audrianna coming in and making a beeline for you. It is so obvious that they all just love you so much.

Julia and JamesWhile our minds are able to clearly see all the years that have gone by, and what a cute little boy you were, we find ourselves struggling with the fact that the little boy you were is gone forever now…and in his place is a tall young man, who is ready for the world and the next step in his journey in life. Whether you know exactly where you are headed, or if your plans are still in the works, I know that you will succeed in whatever you decide to do, because you are a person who completes what he starts. Still, today is about a finished race. You have completed all the requirements to receive your high school diploma…the achievement that we take you the longest time among life’s achievements. Before you now stands the next door in your life, and it is up to you to choose where that door will lead. No one else can make the decision for you. Your parents and family can advise you, but the choice is your and yours alone.

10434000_10152102087607237_3789236328148353576_nFor now, James will attend Casper College, and take the required courses for graduation, since he hasn’t settled on a career path for sure. That’s never a bad idea. Taking all the basic classes leaves you with the ones that really interest you when you know where your career is headed. James is also hoping to save money to take a trip to the Netherlands, where his girlfriend is from. Julia is a foreign exchange student at Kelly Walsh, but will be heading home soon, so he wants to go see her there in her home country. Who knows, maybe he will choose to go to college there. Again, only time will tell, but for now, James is simply looking forward to his graduation, because it is the goal he has worked long and hard for. Congratulations James Renville!! We are very proud of you!! Way to go!!

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