Steamboat Springs A bad day for Diane Moore has nothing to do with a flat tire or working overtime.
As director of Advocates, a nonprofit agency that deals with domestic violence victims, crises situations and counseling women who are or were in abusive relationships, Moore's bad days are on a different level.
"It hits on a more global scale," she said, trying to describe her feelings.
While sitting in a comfy sofa chair in the Advocates office, Moore's eyes look upward while she thinks deeply about what a bad day is. She then refocuses her eyes forward as if she had retrieved the words to describe her thoughts.
"There are just so many people out there hurting," she said. "Have we made any gains in society?"
A bad day, Moore explained, is seeing the reality of some aspects of society through her cases. It's knowing that the problems are intricate and complicated to solve and knowing, though strives have been made to learn how to treat each other better, that "we still have a long way to go."
After feeling this way, or dealing with a particularly emotional case, Moore and her employees take time out.
"It's about self care," she said.
It might be talking about the case or taking some time off.
But Advocates, and Moore, are not only reactive to these issues.
To help educate people in Routt County, Moore organized a program to tutor high school students in all three districts in the county to give a presentation to classmates about date rape, date violence, school harassment and bullying. It's a small start at educating, but it is a highly acclaimed program in the county.
For Moore, though, her feelings on domestic violence is not grounded in seeing and sympathizing with the victims, particularly in women who have been abused. That's what makes the problem more difficult.
"Sometimes, I feel sorry for the batterer," she admitted. "What they do is not OK, but in some ways, they are hurting, too."
This is an issue that Moore struggles with. It's also what sets her apart from other human service workers.
"I can't say enough good things about Diane," Routt County Director of Social Services Bob White said. "She is one of the few of us in the health and human services arena that is respected on all levels."
Historically, White explained, relationships between human service workers and law enforcement agencies is a difficult one. But Moore has overcome that.
"Diane is a person over the years that we've grown to respect and trust," Steamboat Springs Assistant Police Chief Art Fiebing said.
He said Moore's approach at dealing with these issues is level headed and appropriate. With her help, the police department and county officials started mandatory arrests with probable cause in all domestic violence incidents.
"I think that's a positive thing," Fiebing said.
The mandatory arrest is one endeavor to help domestic violence victims in Routt County. Another is a shelter, ran through Advocates, for abused women and their children that was started four years ago.
It's a safe house, a place of transition and a timeout from an overprotective or mentally and physically abusive husband.
But the policy at the shelter, and for all of Advocates programs, is respect.
"Our philosophy is respecting what they want to do," Moore said.
If that means returning to the abusive situation, no one will stop them.
"We're here for you when you need us," Moore said.
The danger with agencies that try to help abused wives is that the victims can go from becoming dependent on the their abuser to being dependent on the agency.
The goal for Advocates is not to become a provider, but to empower women to become confident and dependent on their own.
"It's not only packing your bags and leaving, it's surviving afterwards," Moore said.
That's done by sharing information, letting people know of their options and just talking and working out problems.
Moore, a Nebraska born woman who came to Steamboat in 1981, is a collector of stories, a colleague once told her.
But more accurately, she's a locked safe of stories, and that's an important element in empowerment.
When a woman makes that step to be dependent, its makes for a good day for Moore.
"I get a lot in return here," said said. "I see a lot of women with a lot of courage come in here."
But Moore isn't short of courage herself.
"She is the director of the agency," White said. "She could spend most of her time managing her employees to work with victims. Instead she is working one-on-one with the people."
The result of that, and being in a high profile position, has put Moore in danger.
Two times since became the first director of Advocates in 1983, someone has threatened her life.
"It sometimes makes me feel very very vulnerable," she said. "The police and sheriff has been very supportive of me."
But like the women she helps, Moore has persevered.
"I think this is my passion. It's probably what I'm supposed to do," she said.