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Around Our Town...Casper's Cool Kids

Conor Willadson

04/01/2006 - "Conor has the kindest heart. She is so sweet and accepts everybody," says Tonya Willadson of her seven-year-old daughter. As we spoke with Conor and her teacher at school for this article it became increasingly evident that this is far from a mother's bias, but a wonderful character trait Conor has managed to grasp at an early age. She is very helpful at school, is the first to notice if someone is sad, or just shy and makes the effort to welcome them. When asked why she is so kind to people, Conor tells us that people's feelings are important and she doesn't want to hurt them.

Conor was born with a cleft nose and travels to Dallas every summer with her family for surgery. She says she enjoys the trip, though, because the Willadsons get to spend two weeks together as a family and they keep everything very positive. Conor also looks forward to seeing all the people she has met on previous trips who need surgeries like hers and, in true Conor fashion, is always concerned to check on how they are doing.

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Conor's doctor, Dr. Kenneth Salyer specializes in this form of surgery for children around the world. "He's helped me a lot," she says, "and he's nice. I like seeing him."

When we asked her to tell us about her surgery, she said, "It was scary to go in." Even though Conor admits sometimes it's hard to be brave, she has a very special friend who helps her, a doll named Yolanda who is a faithful buddy to go in with her until it's over. Yolanda has taken on even more special meaning to Conor because she was a gift from Conor's grandpa, Rodney Willadson, who passed away almost a year ago.

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Conor is very close to her grandma, Marcia Willadson, and her maternal grandparents, Henry and Simona Prado, all of whom live in Torington. Conor is always excited when she gets to see them. "They're really fun to play with, and they take me to the store."

Conor is involved in her church in catechism where she learns about Bible stories. "It's really fun," she says. In fact, she is currently preparing for her first communion. Her whole family: Dad (Steve Willadson), Mom (Tonya Willadson) and sister, (Calen Willadson) are excited for her.

When 3-year-old Calen was asked what she likes best about having Conor for a sister, she said she loves Conor, Conor is nice and fun to play with.

Some of Conor's favorite things to do are dance, swim, play tennis and golf. She has been dancing since she was very young. "My favorite thing about dancing is learning new dances. It's exciting," she says. "My favorite thing about swimming is learning new strokes."

Conor's love of learning is evidenced by her articulate manner during the interview. We were not surprised to learn that she likes going to school as well. She attends Fort Caspar Academy and her favorite subject is Science. Conor says she loves her teacher, Mona Miller and we found out that her teacher loves her, too. "Conor's a lovely little girl," Mrs. Miller said. "She just has this nice way about her that makes people enjoy being around her. She gets along well with the other children, and she's a hard worker, responsible with her studies."

Tonya says, "Conor is the sweetest, bravest little girl. She handles everything like an adult, with grace and class. We're honored to be her parents."

Thanks, Conor, for being such a cool kid!

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