Terry Willis was sworn in as the newest member of the Price City Council on Thursday.
Looking back on the reason she wanted to run in the first place, Willis said has been involved in the community over a long period of time.
“I’ve been very involved with the community in a lot of aspects for a very long time and part of it started with the employment that I had,” she said.
Working for Active Re-Entry for seven years and at the Family Support and Children’s Justice Center for nine, and also as a local news reporter, it’s easy to see how Willis’ employment history led to her involvement in the community she has been a part of for the past 34 years.
Although Willis was born in California, she moved to Iowa with her parents when she was three and lived there until after her senior year of high school when she entered the Navy. She spent four years traveling and living in places such as Iceland, Florida and Northern California.
It was in the Navy that Willis met her first husband and it was with him that, in 1978, she moved to the Provo area before moving to Wellington about a year-and-a-half later when her husband started work in one of the local coal mines.
After a divorce and having been left with two daughters and little financial support, Willis landed a job at a federally-funded preschool. She also attended what was then College of Eastern Utah and graduated after two years with high honors. She continued her studies through the Comnet program and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in social work.
After receiving her degree, Willis began her work at Active Re-Entry. It was during that time that Willis was hired by a local organization and was able to help with the building and management of The Family Support and Children’s Justice Center, which was then located at the corner of 100 North and 300 East.
During a management training dedicated to goal-setting, Willis recalled thinking about the homework received: to set any needed managerial and personal goals.
“At that point I had finished my degree, my kids were raised, I had just recently gotten remarried,” she said. “I had a great job, and I thought, ‘I don’t know what goals I need right now.'”
That’s when she remembered her life-long dream of wanting to be an artist.
“The minute I thought that, my world just lit back up,” she explained.
Willis then set a five-year goal to quit her job and become an artist. Her husband offered his support and, despite the need to raise some of her grandchildren for a period of time, Willis’ dream soon came to fruition. It was while she was first starting her artist work that she worked for both of Carbon County’s newspapers.
“That’s what I bring,” she said about her various struggles she’s experienced in her life. “I didn’t have a clean pass from point A to point B.”
She also believes that that lack of a clean pass is what will help her in her new role as a Price City council member.
“I’ve been on both sides of the community,” she explained.
She spoke about her struggles of being a single mother seeking a better-paying job and also about her memories of when things in life seemed to be coming easy.
“With that,” Willis said, “I can look at things with fresh eyes.”