WLM WLM Summer 2015 - Page 25

She took several children with a troubling or absent home life under her wing, including a Native American baby boy named Billy. Phyllis raised him from two months old to adulthood – sadly, Billy passed away in 2008 as an adult, but the experience never leaves Phyllis’ heart. A young white girl from Superior, Wyoming also joined Phyllis’ family, and another boy with cerebral palsy, while not living with the family for long, was taken to therapy and other supportive programs by Phyllis. “I loved teaching on the reservation,” Phyllis remembers as we discussed her time there. “The children were the same as anywhere else. I think some people think children on the reservation aren’t as bright, but they are! I saw very intelligent children there.” It was with her love of Native American people and culture in mind, and a little inspiration from Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard movie, that Phyllis put her love for the people to work again. In 2014, Phyllis released Home at Last, a story of a family on the edge of the Wind River Indian Reservation working around the challenges of drug abuse and adding in a little danger as well. Phyllis’s second book is due out before much longer – both are published by Rosedog Books of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and currently Home at Last is available on Amazon. Today Phyllis is a retiree living in Jackson, reading, writing and enjoying the local senior center. she began a 20-year career as an award-winning art director, graphic artist and illustrator for the Jackson Hole News and Jackson Hole Magazine. and Keith discovered a passion for emergency wilderness response, volunteering and serving as a professional EMT for over 15 years. Artist Diane Benefiel, who created the cover for Phyllis’ book in addition to her own line of work, is a Nebraska native and graduate of Colorado Institute of Art. She moved to Jackson in 1977, where With her husband Keith and his toddler daughter Erin, they lived in a small cabin at the base of the Teton Pass in historic downtown Wilson, where they loved exploring their huge natural ‘backyard.’ Diane It was a medical emergency that ended Diane’s career as an EMT in 2010. It was in the process of healing that she rediscovered her joy of drawing, painting, and “… just the simple act of seeing.” Plein www.wyolifestyle.com 25