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For whom much is given

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Bernadette Lauritzen is one of the community’s top volunteers

By Carol A. Clark

Longtime resident Bernadette Lauritzen is one of those inspirational people motivated essentially by a desire to make things better for the rest of us.

Many local organizations and countless individuals have been touched by her kindness, which Laurtizen explains is inspired by the bible verse in Luke 12:48, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.”

“I think my family has been pretty fortunate and so I think we should give back,” she said.

Lauritzen, 42, is a 2007 graduate of Leadership Los Alamos and is completing her second term on its board.

“I believe that Leadership Los Alamos changed my life and led me to do the 40 Developmental Assets program work I do today,” she said.

Los Alamos Public Schools Superintendent Gene Schmidt spoke of his appreciation for Bernadette’s selfless contributions to the schools.

“Bernadette is always reminding and teaching us the importance of the 40 Developmental Assets and she really epitomizes all 40,” Schmidt said. “The average person might have 17-20 of these assets, whereas she exhibits all 40.”

Schmidt recalled that last fall Lauritzen organized a “Spirit of the West” Award to recognize inspirational people in honor of former County Councilor Jim West who died.

“She really deserves that award herself,” Schmidt said. “She has a way of just bringing joy to people’s lives – something about her causes people to feel good when they’re around her. The great gift to the Los Alamos community is that she and her whole family have chosen to live here. Bernadette is a true example of how one person can touch so many lives.”

Los Alamos County Council Vice Chair Sharon Stover has worked with Lauritzen on local boards and community projects for several years.

“Bernadette wears numerous hats in this community; if you need something she’s there to lend a hand…always willing to do so much to help the community,” Stover said. “Whether related to church, businesses, the schools or the community – you name it – Bernadette is willing to get in there and help.”

Los Alamos Police Chief Wayne Torpy also works together with Lauritzen on local boards as well as civic committees.

“Bernadette is truly a community leader,” Torpy said. “In many ways through her volunteer work it’s almost like if you go to a meeting and Bernadette isn’t there then something is wrong. She is a shining example of community volunteerism and of someone who truly wants to make this community better.”

Lauritzen is a long-time contributor to the Monitor. She writes about school and community events. She also hosts a radio program on KRSN.

“People often ask me if I work for the Monitor or KRSN,” she said. “I’m employed by neither. I would say that the community would suffer greatly if we ever lost either because I assure you no newspaper or radio station outside this community would publish our stories about our kids doing good or photos of our middle school sports or our local Scouts.”

Lauritzen reads the newspaper for Newsline for the Blind, serves on the Friends of the Senior Center Board and assists Los Alamos Youth Leadership. She just completed her second stint on the Five Year Planning Committee for Mesa Public Library. Lauritzen also serves as wedding coordinator and chairs publicity for the United Church.

“Most importantly I volunteer for the schools because I think they do so much for our children – things most people would never know,” she said.

Lauritzen was born in Philadelphia. Her inspirational parents were involved in Band Boosters and ROTC Boosters while she and her two brothers were in school.  

She married Chad Lauritzen 20 years ago. They moved to town five years later when Chad got a job at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“Bernadette’s love for the youth in this community seems endless,” Chad said. “Anything that involves the improvement of our kids, she is there to champion it. While balancing a happy family life, work and volunteerism, she is always willing to lend a hand where she can, especially when it relates to her ‘spark’ of writing articles and taking pictures. She always has time for being a great wife, mom and friend.”

Chad and Bernadette have three sons.

“My mom is a good volunteer in so many ways but one of my favorite ways is that she volunteers at my school so much,” Chandler, 14, said.

“She is always helping people in the community,” Spencer, 12, said. “She is the person who volunteers for most anything.”

“She is a good mom because she makes us lunch, she reads books to us and she helps with homework,” Aaron, 9, said.

The Lauritzen family lives in White Rock with their dogs, Chase, 7, a black Labrador and German Shepard mix and Fuzzball, 2, predominantly golden retriever.