In the home of Jim and Peggy Hearne, a bronze statuette of two hands sits on a sunny table. A woman’s hand rests atop her husband’s, and the title reads, “How the West was One.” This piece, created by Herb Mignery, speaks volumes on the strength and support found in marriage. According to the Hearnes, that strength can both win the west and shape its future.
The Hearnes met at the University of Wyoming and, as Peggy would say, “It’s history from there.” In the following years, Jim rapidly earned his role as a partner at McGee, Hearne, and Paiz back when it was part of McGladrey, Hansen, Dunn & Company. Hearne was part of the group which went on to purchase the office in September 2000. He is very proud of the alumni that have come through the doors of MHP – many careers were started at the firm. Some individuals have remained with the firm, and some have moved on to progress in their careers. Professionally, Jim was involved in the Wyoming Society of CPA’s and received a gubernatorial appointment to the Wyoming Board of CPA’s.
In their early years together, Peggy worked in nursing and was the first registered nurse at the Cheyenne Family Practice Residency Center. She even assembled scales as some of her initial tasks to get the practice on its feet. Although she took a professional sabbatical while raising their three children, Michelle, Kenny, and Christopher, she remained involved in public health issues and was engaged in a variety of activities to enhance the Cheyenne community.
Throughout their careers, both Peggy and Jim connected with others around Cheyenne, and dedicated noteworthy amounts of time to serving our community. Jim was initially involved with the Contestant Committee at Cheyenne Frontier Days, later served as the General Chairman, and then transitioned to serve as Chairman of the Cheyenne Frontier Days Art Show for twenty-five years. He has also served on the Wyoming Travel Commission, Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Rotary Club, and the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Chamber. Jim also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Cheyenne Chamber in 2015. He has been and continues to be engaged in a myriad of other civic roles around the community.
“For Jim, it was like working a job and a half,” said Peggy. She dedicated 25 years serving in Civic League, has been a longtime member of the Philanthropic Educational Organization Chapter Z, and continues her volunteer work with the Cheyenne Frontier Days W-heels to outfit wagons and vintage costuming for Cheyenne Frontier Days as well as staying very active in the St. Mary’s Cathedral Guild. She also worked with the Wyoming Nurses Association throughout her career, which helped her stay involved in nursing even when she was not working.
The Hearnes are of the opinion that the benefits far outweighed the effort put into their service. Their work in the community gave them many opportunities to meet people from Cheyenne and all over the country. They have enjoyed hosting gatherings at their home as well as providing housing and hosting sailors from the USS Cheyenne for many years.
“The soul of Cheyenne is its generous, happy, and thriving volunteer base” explained Peggy. “This is carried out in so many ways beyond just Cheyenne Frontier Days.”
“Being inducted into the Circle of Champions is a great honor, but it’s very humbling when you look back at the previous honorees,” Jim said.
When asked what advice they have for others, the Hearnes answered, as with so many things, together. “There’s no excuse to be bored,” said Peggy. She added, “Make every day worthwhile. Whether it’s taking care of yourself, jumping in to help others, or simply making someone else’s day a little happier.”
“There are so many opportunities in Cheyenne and Wyoming to be involved in something bigger than yourself. You don’t realize the benefit you get out of it,” Jim finished.
The Hearnes now have three grandchildren and two great grandchildren. They spend their time together working on the family ranch and continuing their involvement in the Cheyenne community. They will continue to live their motto of “Faith, Family, and Friends.”
Story by J. Elizabeth Bennett
Elizabeth Bennett serves the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce as the Director of Marketing and Communications. She is passionate about working with the diverse communities in Cheyenne and creating accessible communications material that engages our chamber members.