The Fourth of July holiday was a special one for the Collins family. I loved the weather and found time to play nine holes of golf with my father. Last Monday, Judy and I went to a concert at FE Warren Air Force Base, where Runaway June, John Michael Montgomery, and Trace Adkins gave a free concert to current Airmen and retirees. It felt like a mini CFD, with thousands of people packing the place and being wowed. John Michael Montgomery was one of my favorite singers in the 90s. Hearing the words to “Life’s a Dance,” “I Can Love You Like That,” and “Sold” took me back and made me smile. I love that our military gets entertainment like this. When the concert ended, we all turned around and watched the fireworks that were put on by CFD and the city. What a way to end an amazing day!
I don’t know if many of you have been tracking the concerns America is having with China and their spying efforts, however, we met this week with our economic development teams to discuss the concerns and to start the conversation about how we can be vigilant in our efforts to prevent them from spying on our nuclear missile base. I find these conversations interesting and depressing at the same time.
This week, we lost a great employee to retirement. Teresa Moore has been the director of our Community Recreation and Events (CRE) department for years. When Mayor Orr was in office, she reorganized some of our departments and Teresa was charged with making the changes work at CRE, and she did so brilliantly! One proof of that is the succession and promotions that happened within her department—her deputy director was promoted to lead the department, the parks director was promoted to the deputy director, and four more promotions from within the department are underway. That is great leadership at its finest. I commend Teresa for training her team so well. They’re always ready to take on more responsibility. Her last day with us was on the 5th, and although she has small feet, our team will have big shoes to fill. Thanks for your service to our city, Teresa.
A year ago, I learned about WyoGives Day after reading a city proclamation. I learned 450 non-profits are serving many different audiences across our city. Groups like: Grace for 2 Brothers which helps prevent suicide; Climb Wyoming, an organization that trains women for career jobs to help bring their families out of poverty; and then you have places like the animal shelter, which takes care of thousands of our furry friends. Likewise, the MS Society and so many other groups take care of our health issues. My Front Door helps families with home ownership; Rooted in Cheyenne replants our urban forest; the Comea Shelter provides shelter to the homeless; Friday Food Bag and similar organizations feed those in need; Girls on the Run helps young ladies booster self-confidence, and Safehouse Services gives shelter to those in unsafe environments, and so much more. I would ask all of you to go online on July 13th and choose one or more of these non-profits and make a donation. Given our current economic conditions, folks will be needing help from our non-profits more than ever.
Wednesday evening, our friends at Frontier Days held a dinner to thank city and county departments for all they do to make our rodeo the biggest and best in the world. It is really a team effort between city and county departments supporting the 3500 volunteers who run the show. CFD and the general committee are some of the best ambassadors we have for Cheyenne and Wyoming.
Our Chief of Staff Andy and I spent some time preparing food for delivery at Meals on Wheels. I was so impressed with their new kitchen and prep areas. It’s very modern and clean. I learned they prepare over 300 meals, daily. Meals on Wheels is the largest network in the country that prepares therapeutic diets. Special meals for cardiac, renal, diabetic, gluten-free, and lactose intolerant customers are all individually developed by the registered dietician. I brag all the time about the volunteerism in Cheyenne, and Meals on Wheels is another bright spot in this regard. I love the dedication and the spirit they bring to the job. The food looked great, and I am pleased we have this quality service for those who need it.
If you want to see high energy, spend some time with Captain Dan Hochhalter with the 243rd Air Traffic Control Squadron. His group provides the control at our Cheyenne airport. They also respond within 72 hours to ship out anywhere in the world, where their services are needed. He has a vision to make the 243rd a more combat-ready unit; responding even in dangerous areas and setting up shop to get air traffic moving in record time. I am looking forward to the end of August when they will have a multi-day opportunity to demonstrate their new concept to the Air Force. Dan has me Fired Up!!
Our Emergency Management Agency works hard to prepare our city to avoid disasters and recover from those that do happen. I had lunch with Jeanine West to get an update on her agency and learn what to expect in the future. One thing I am excited about is the Resiliency Survey of our city, which will be completed by the federal Homeland Security folks. What I am excited about most is how they will look at all the capacities we have to recover from national disasters and give us a handbook to use in case one happens. Jeanine keeps all of us on our toes and keeps us prepared for anything. This is especially nice to know and understand, with all that has been happening across the country lately.
My Thursday evening ended at the Wyoming International Film Festival. Rudi Womack is the executive director of this gala, where 128 films will be shown over the weekend. Judy and I watched a documentary called, “The Long Rider.” A man named Filipe Leite reads a book about a young man, by the name Aime Tschiffely, who rides a horse on an epic long journey. Filipe goes on an eight-year and over 8,000-mile ride from Canada to his parent’s home, in Brazil. He took over 500 hours of video that makes up the backbone of the movie. I would recommend you go online to see the list of movies that will be played. We had a blast and I know you will also.
If you have a question for me, send it to email@example.com. I’ll continue to answer them in my following Mayor’s Minute column.