|Growing up in
Northern California, it tends to be part of your personal
introduction to tell others you’re from a small town; it’s harming
and carries with it an inherent understanding of the type of person you
are. Though Northern California is home to its fair share of small
towns, few of us can relate to growing up in a hometown as small Dr.
Originally from Yoder, Wyoming, Craig grew up in a town of 136 people. In a town so small, there are few things that one could consider convenient and fewer things that were conveniently close by. The nearest gas station, for example, was an 18 mile drive outside of town, and with temperatures that often dropped below 0°F, those distances seemed excessively longer.
|The bitter cold and lack of
nearby entertainment led Craig to a mild obsession with comic books and
video gaming which took up the greater portion of his childhood winters.
Craig graduated high school and set out to enter the engineering field in 2007, enrolling at a nearby junior college in Casper, Wyoming. He changed his mind shortly after enrolling and transferred to Laramie, Wyoming where he found a scholarship available to study microbiology. Far colder than his hometown, Laramie sat at an altitude of 7,220 feet with temperatures often reaching -60ºF due to windchill and blizzards that would continue through the spring. If nothing else, the insane cold encouraged Craig to complete his studies and get out of Wyoming as quickly as possible.
Having had a cataract in his left eye since childhood, Craig spent a fair amount of time at his optometrist’s office. He noticed that the doctor had done well for himself and optometry seemed like a good gig, so he decided to explore the opportunity. He enrolled in Southern California School of Optometry in 2012 and met local Chicoan, Jon Mennucci, while studying there. The two became close friends and, after accepting a position at North Valley Eye Care in Chico, Jon encouraged Craig to apply as well. Craig visited Chico and fell in love with the area along with NVEC and its staff; when they offered him a position he immediately said yes. They celebrated by taking a two month road trip to Alaska which they both consider the greatest experience of their lives.
Since returning from Alaska in 2016, Craig has focused on comprehensive optometry, as well as management of ocular disease, glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts, and dry eye. Cataracts is one of the most prevalent and, as he puts it, “Everyone seems to get them if they have enough birthdays.” Dry eye is a similarly huge issue in the northern valley and a large majority of the patients he sees suffer from it to some degree.
When he isn’t treating patients at North Valley Eye Care, he’s exploring the area, hiking through Upper Park, mountain biking, and meeting everyone he can. Though he’s spending significant time outdoors in our considerably more hospitable climate, he still invests a fair deal of his salary in comic books and videogames, an investment decision that he is certain will not change for years to come.