County family support attorney receives lifetime award

Rebecca Bernard is recognized for decades of continuing service

Rebecca Bernard, surrounded by friends and coworkers, was applauded Wednesday for receiving the 2023 Angelo Petruss Award for Lawyers in Government Service from the Washington State Board Association.

The award was given for Bernard’s decades of services, as she brings preparedness, thoroughness and passion to the position, said Grays Harbor Prosecutor Norma Tillotson.

“I believe in duty. I believe in responsibility. Especially for children,” Bernard said, in a video presented by the WSBA. “They have things that they deserve”

Bernard, who came to the county prosecutor’s office in 1990, said the position of family support attorney she slid into after several years working cases in district court has been a natural fit for her.

“They got me doing the child support cases and that just clicked,” Bernard said. “It felt right. It clicked with my values.”

Duty and responsibility of the parents to the child are the heart of her job, said Bernard.

“The father has a duty. The mother has a duty,” Bernard said. “It takes two of them to create a child.”

Raising a foster child herself helped drive home the lessons, the importance of her work, Bernard said.

“The taxpayers are supporting the child. That’s not really where the duty should lie. The duty should lie with the people who created the child,” Bernard said. “Each parent needs to be responsible for the choices that they make, with the child they made, not the taxpayer.”

Her dedication is foundational, Tillotson said.

“Ms. Bernard demonstrates an extreme commitment to justice in the cases she handles,” Tillotson said. “She’s made the office a much better place.”

The award was announced in September, but Wednesday marked an opportunity for Bernard to be recognized here in Grays Harbor, said WSBA Executive Director Terra Nevitt.

“When I work these cases, I think, what have they taken away from these children?” Bernard said.

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or