Gillette Recreation Attracts Families and Retirees
PHOTO CREDIT: Brian McCord
Young Professionals, Raising a Family in Gillette
When it came time for graphic designer and publisher Harvey Jackson to raise a family‚ there was little doubt where his internal compass would point. Harvey headed home to Gillette. “In a smaller city‚ people know you‚” says the 30-year-old Jackson‚ who grew up in Gillette and returned with his wife‚ Megan‚ in 2001. “It has a small-town feeling. In Denver‚ it seems like you got lost in it. Nobody knew your name. And there’s a lot better community feeling here for raising kids.”
Others know that feeling. Trevor Matson left the Black Hills of South Dakota to launch a Blue Ribbon Mortgage office in Gillette. Eight years later‚ he’s happily immersed in Campbell County life. “Gillette has that smaller-town atmosphere but with more people. They’re friendly‚ and they’ll go out of their way to help each other‚” says the 33-year-old Matson.
Retiring in Gillette
And retirees like Delmar Seymour and wife Carolynn choose Gillette for similar reasons. The Seymours are born-and-bred “Okies‚” as Delmar describes their Oklahoma upbringings near Tulsa and Oklahoma City‚ where they were married 55 years ago. But since Delmar transferred to Gillette with an oil field service company 33 years ago‚ the Seymours haven’t looked back. Delmar ran his own oil field drilling pipe business for a decade‚ auctioned his equipment during the mid-1980s oil slump‚ and maintained condominiums for seven years. After a brief retirement‚ he returned to work as a caretaker at a regional school for special-needs children.
“I’ve always said that except for two or three of these 33 years‚ anyone that wanted to work‚ could work here‚” says Seymour‚ who’s 78. “And it’s just been better and better.” Wyoming’s stunning vistas captivate the Seymours on camping trips‚ and recreational opportunities abound at home with indoor tracks and swimming at the county-operated fitness center they frequent. “We have a tremendous recreation center. It’s really a healthy atmosphere‚” says Delmar‚ whose two daughters and six grandchildren also live in the region.
Jackson‚ whose wife is a registered nurse expecting their third child‚ moved back for such an atmosphere. That the economy roared to life was a happy coincidence. “I didn’t plan on that‚” he says. “I just liked the area because I knew it was a safe place to live‚ with good school systems. But just about everybody I know in business now is making money – just thriving.” Matson’s mortgage business has taken off‚ too. He’s grown from one to four employees and finds life away from work fulfilling. Outdoor sports – from snowmobiling to boating are endless – and his 4-year-old daughter has activities nearly every day. “The schools are great‚ and it’s home now‚” Matson says. “So we don’t have plans to go anywhere else.”