Vicki Vuarnet was born in 1961 into a military family. Her mother, Rebecca and her father, Lawrence Wood, eloped when Rebecca was 17. Vicki’s father was an Airman First Class in the U.S. Air Force. The family consisted of 3 boys and 1 girl. Due to transfers, the family moved more than a dozen times before Vicki was 10 years old. They always lived on the base and their family life evolved around other military families, base schools, and activities.
The bases had their own shopping, movies, schools, and bowling alleys. It was a totally self-contained community. Vicki’s family never left the base. All the children had military style haircuts as did everyone else who lived there. There were a lot of advantages to living on the base. They could go to the movies for just $.50; a quarter to get into the movie and the other quarter bought soda, popcorn and a candy bar. Vicki, being the only girl in the family, learned to fight and to be tough. Vicki and one brother finally had it out in a fistfight; Vicki lost her two front teeth in that battle.
In 1970, when Vicki was ten, her father retired from the military as a Master Sargent after serving for 21 years. The family moved to Portland, it was culture shock for Vicki, life as a civilian was completely different than the structured military world she had always known. For the first time, she attended public school with non-military children. In high school, Vicki loved drama class, she participated in the drama club and won 2nd place in an improvisation contest. She was a drama assistant for the grade school, and wanted to become a drama teacher. But, she fell in love with the boy next door and they got married in her senior year.
After graduation, Vicki and her husband bought a house and Vicki worked at Chuck E Cheese. She would make pizzas and then jump into her Chuck E Cheese costume and perform for the kids. Vicki also performed as Mr. Munch and Pasqually.
After being married for 5 years, their daughter Sheena was born. Vicki returned to work, at Round Table briefly and then as a debt collector at Grandtree furniture store. Vicki has heard every story in the book; the toughness she acquired as a child, made her great at her job. Vicki got divorced when Sheena was two and came to Bend to visit a friend. While in Bend, she interviewed for a job as a debt collector at BMC/St. Charles in Bend and moved here immediately.
While working at St. Charles, Vicki met the love of her life, Bradley Thomas. Bradley was working in another area of the hospital, but came to Vicki’s area to lend a hand with her department’s moving. It was love at first sight. Vicki and Bradley got married in 1995, after dating for 5 years. Bradley became an instant father, but since Sheena already had a dad, Bradley became her friend instead. At this time Vicki was employed by McMahan’s Furniture as their District Office/Collection Supervisor of their Oregon stores where she worked for 10 years. She left in 2001 to work for Bradley’s moving company where she is a jack-of-all-trades; she answers the phones, schedules, does the bookkeeping, payroll and sometimes Vicki and her mother pack. Vicki’s mom, Rebecca, is also their forklift driver. In 2004 when Sheena moved to Hawaii, Rebecca moved in with Vicki and Bradley. Sheena is now the graphic designer for Hawaii’s heath care system.
The family has two huge Newfoundland dogs, Harley and Buster.
Bradley and Vicki have frequent parties at their house and Vicki assembles pizzas and Bradley cooks them in their genuine wood burning, brick pizza oven. Everyone always has a great time at their parties, especially picking out their own toppings for the pizza.
Bradley became an Elk member in 2010 and Vicki joined the Ladies of the Elks. Shortly after, Vicki became an Elk member and has been the Treasurer since she joined.
Vicki loves to volunteer; she helps out in the office, especially at membership renewal time and is always found in the kitchen. Vicki, Rebecca and Bradley are great cooks. Vicki also volunteers for many of the lodge activities such as; the Christmas baskets, the Veterans Parade float, and the children’s Christmas party.
She organizes and helps decorate the Christmas float (we won 2nd place Christmas 2014 – see pictures on Home Page), and of course dresses up as the Easter Bunny for the community egg hunt.
No one can imagine our Lodge without the Thomas/Wood family. In spite of working full-time, Bradley and Vicki are always present. They have incredible energy and are always helping and making our Lodge the success it is.