Leta Tanner has seen Gillette and Campbell County grow a lot in her 80 years.
“I've always been involved in this community and notice that many people today are also volunteering and helping with charities to make our quality of life even better,” Tanner says. “During my life, I've worked on the city council, the chamber, in the county courthouse, with the Cattleman's group, and helped to secure scholarships for students attending Gillette College. I've always stayed busy.”
Tanner has received numerous awards from organizations that recognized her philanthropic efforts throughout the years.
“I have tried to give back and stay involved,” she says.
Such is the case throughout Campbell County, where people work together, help each other, and give this community a true hometown feel. Stasi Shippy points out that Campbell County residents are hard-working individuals who give to charities and volunteer, and she should know. Shippy is executive director of United Way of Campbell County, and says the organization raised $517,000 in 2010 – with no individual donor giving more than $4,000.
“In many big cities and wealthy communities, there are often dozens of individuals who can afford to contribute $10,000 or more to United Way, so it's amazing that people in Campbell County gave what they could for us to reach the impressive total of $517,000,” she says. “Many people here wear steel-toed boots and hard hats, and often go to work before it gets light. They work really hard for their money, but generously give back.”
Shippy says volunteerism is also alive in Campbell County, and offers the United Way agency CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) as an example. The agency helps abused and neglected children.
“A CASA volunteer goes through the court system with a child to make sure that the judge knows the child's needs – the volunteer is the eyes, ears and voice of the child,” she says. “It's a huge commitment, with a volunteer perhaps being involved with that same child for several years. There are 30 CASA volunteers in Campbell County, while many other volunteers serve the 13 other charitable agencies that our local United Way oversees.”
Another agency that works with children is The Boys & Girls Club of Campbell County. The club has touched the lives of more than 4,500 children since it began offering summer programming in 2001 and after school care in 2002. Volunteers actively seek ways to enrich the lives of local children whom other agencies have had difficulty in reaching.
This includes children who live with family conflict, lack of supervision or parents who have been involved with criminal activity. Trained, caring and professional staff and volunteers help these young people take control of their lives, envision productive futures and reach their goals. For more than 10 years, The Boys & Girls Club has been dedicated to ensuring that Campbell County's disadvantaged youngsters have better access to quality programs and services that will help shape their futures.
People Wave to You
In Wright, John Flocchini and his family have owned Durham Buffalo Ranch since the 1960s. He is also involved in local charities, serving, for example, on the board of the Powder River Energy Foundation, which distributes money to several area charities.
“Also, our Durham Ranch hosts an annual 5K/10K walk-run that benefits a different charity each year, and I donate a lot of buffalo meat for an annual Hunter/Rancher Chili Feed,” he says. “Community involvement is actually part of the mission statement of our ranch.”
Flocchini says he has always enjoyed living in Campbell County.
“Here, things are low-key and friendly, with people waving to you as you drive down the highway,” he says. “It’s the way life is meant to be.”