Driving is one of the most pacifying things a busy person can do. It’s one of the few activities that is both mission-accomplishing and passive at once, releasing the mind of someone who hesitates to fully relax.
At least that’s my working theory—and it explains why Kristin Lockwood enjoys the Sunday trips she takes, transporting her son to football games hours across New York, or her dream of getting on a train and visiting all the states en route to California.
“I don’t think I could ever sit still,” she says. “I think, even if I didn’t have work, I would still be doing something.”
The people closest to her will tell you they are awed by the sheer amount of “something” Lockwood is consistently up to. You get the sense, in speaking with her husband and her father, who lives with the couple, that Lockwood is a blonde blur, skating circle-eights through their lives as they try to whip their heads back and forth fast enough to keep up. “She’s incredible,” her father, Bill Arnold, tells me. “If we had a moving van outside, and I was going to move all my stuff, she’d have the damn thing loaded in two or three hours—by herself.”
Lockwood is the branch manager at the Jeff Bank in Narrowsburg and also serves as treasurer of the Delaware Valley Arts Alliance (DVAA) board, secretary of the Fremont Youth Football League and bookkeeper for the Town of Cochecton. She’s active with the Cochecton Youth Commission, the Young Emerging Leaders program and recently graduated from the Sullivan County Leadership Program.
On a Friday in September, she works at the bank and then heads to the Young Emerging Leaders Festival (YELFest). On Saturday morning, she sells tickets at the Big Eddy Film Festival as a DVAA volunteer. On Sunday, she wakes up early and mows her sprawling lawn before getting her son ready for a football game, where she watches his team beat the other 38 to nothing. On Sunday night, I’m assuming she sleeps, but I can’t be sure.
So if you think you’ve seen Lockwood around, you probably have. You just can’t be sure in which capacity she was serving at the time.
Lockwood gives a rundown of her involvement—rather, she hands it to me on a pre-written bio she’s brought with her—at Gerard’s Café on a Wednesday afternoon, where she sits down across from me, a Jeff Bank nametag featuring prominently on her blazer lapel, and drinks my water.
“I’m nervous,” she admits.
A few days later, sitting at her desk at the bank, she circles back and tells me she thinks she’d treated our interview too much like a networking event. “I didn’t talk enough about me,” she says. “I only talked about what I do.”
“I like helping people,” she explains, splaying her manicured hands out on the desk to emphasize that this is the foundation of her personhood. She likes connecting people, gathering up her resources and then pinning the pieces together, like a bird makes a nest. You want to rent a house in Narrowsburg? Kristin knows someone you can talk with. Looking for a job? She knows three people hiring and here are their phone numbers. This is the currency of an involved person and Lockwood doles it out as skillfully as any former bank teller would.
“It’s her calling,” says husband Brett, at the Lake Huntington auto shop they own next to their house. “ take to her like static… anybody who’s met her, they can see it in her, I think. She wants to do well with everybody, and she strives for that. Above and beyond.”
This part of her personality, Lockwood ventures, might come from her upbringing. Until she was 14, Lockwood and her two younger brothers lived with her dad in Cornwall, NY. She helped bring the kids up before moving Narrowsburg to live with her mother and attend Narrowsburg High School. Here, though she loved going to a small school, her home life became unstable; Lockwood no longer speaks with her mother as a result. She started working at 14, maintaining multiple jobs at once, through school and after graduation, until she became pregnant with her first son and started as a bank teller at the Dime Bank in Damascus, PA.
“I was forced to grow up a lot faster than I should,” she says. “Now I have kids. So I’m trying to juggle that, because I want to be the mom that I didn’t have. But I also want them to learn independence, and that they should be able to do things as simple as getting up in the morning and getting dressed on your own… those are the challenges right now.”
Brett says the children have good hearts because of her—“She keeps them active in ways they want to be active.”
Lockwood is also interested in mentoring young people whom she thinks have the capacity to move up the ranks. “Kristin helped me get where I am today,” says Stephanie Drongoski, a youngteller who worked for Kristin before taking a promotion at another bank.
Her father privately worries that she’ll burn out. “But that might be a reflection of me,” he admits. “With the marriage, and the kids and the success—she’s found her place.”
Right now, Lockwood is in the midst of planning a networking event at The Emerald Ballroom on Main Street in Narrowsburg. She believes in the mission of a neighborhood bank as a facilitator in the community; sponsoring softball teams, hosting events, lending the money residents use to start their own businesses, homes and lives. It makes sense for someone whose own proverbial arms are eager to extend to everything around her.
“That’s what I do,” she says, confidently. “I get things done.”