2019 – A year in review, part 2


July

Daly brings
‘Home-dome-grown’ to G-S

One of the best lessons in life is learning the satisfaction in doing something for yourself and enjoying the rewards. It’s a lesson Guernsey-Sunrise Food Service Coordinator Dawndrea Daly hopes to teach by getting staff and students involved in the on-site growing of some of the fresh food items offered in the school’s lunchroom every day.

It sounds great, but Wyoming’s fickle weather patterns are a formidable opponent to making it a reality. So to utilize Mother Nature’s more accommodating features in the process, Daly secured a $2,500 grant this past January to build a geodesic dome greenhouse that will make it a hand-on project through the school year.

The dome went up just behind the school in late June and should be ready for use by the time school starts in mid-August. The dome is a self-supporting structure made from materials strong enough to stand up to the rigors of Wyoming weather, including the pervasive winds that frequently come through. The frame is a composite made from recycled plastic and wheat straw manufactured in Torrington.

The plant bed will be made using horse tanks filled with soil and designed with a drainage system. Hydration will be provided by the school’s water system through a direct line near the dome.

Nordeen closes 29-year run at WC&FD

Wyoming Child and Family Development Inc. announced in July that Laureen Nordeen, the organization’s executive director, closed out her career June 20, 2019.

Danielle Wondercheck will serve as Executive Director and Marian Moats has been appointed Head Start/Early Head Start director of the organization upon Ms. Nordeen’s retirement.

Lauren began her years at Wyoming Child and Family Development Inc. in August 1990. She was employed in many roles throughout the company that have touched and shaped the lives of thousands of Wyoming children and families.

August

Canal breach destroys man’s childhood getaway

“It’s gone.”

That was Dick Esquibel’s first thought when he returned to his childhood home two weeks ago.

He’d gotten a call earlier that morning. He keeps a home in Douglas to spend time with his grandchildren, and that’s where he was on July 17. When he got up that morning to water his small garden, he had no idea what happened to the Fort Laramie-Gering Irrigation Canal.

Around 3 a.m. that morning, a tunnel along the canal collapsed. The canal was running at or near full capacity, this being the most important time of the year when it comes to growing corn.

The collapse caused thousands of pounds of dirt to pour into the canal. It plugged the canal and caused the water to back up. Just six minutes later, according to Goshen Irrigation District Manager Rob Posten, water breached the banks of the canal upstream, flooding and destroying much of Esquibel’s property.

Frederick tourney awards over $10K in scholarships

Though they are no longer with us, somewhere Harriet, Chet and Rick Frederick are smiling and proud for what their family has built to help students get a solid education beyond high school graduation.

Although the family name is widely recognized for their historic ranching roots in the area, Harriet and Chet were educators themselves. Their desire to teach has also reached into several generations.

With the loss of Chet in 1995, the family decided to establish a golf tournament to raise money for scholarships to local graduates. Since the first tournament in August 1996, it’s grown to be one of the biggest in the area, covering six flights over two days with 174 participants.

This year, 22 area students received a total of $10,500, which can be used at an institution of their choice.

September

G-S Tech Trades class
wins $70K grant

The large, white block building that stands just a half-block south of U.S. Hwy. 26 in Guernsey looms large in this small community.

Once a feed store, a dance hall and the site of many community gatherings, most residents living here now know it as the home to the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4471 and the Auxiliary. But over the years, several issues with the building have taken a toll, making it uncomfortable in the summer heat or the cold Wyoming winter. 

In 2017, the then-new Skilled Trades class started by Guernsey-Sunrise Industrial Tech instructor Troy Reichert stepped in, offering to upgrade the insulation and help with maintenance to bring the building back to life. And, in August of this year, the class received word they’d received a $70,000 Daniels Fund grant to help finance the project.

The grant will be used to improve ADA access and a new entryway and refinishing the aging wooden floors. The most important improvements will be adding insulation to the building and installation of a new heating-air conditioning system designed to make the building a viable, year-round venue.

Storm brings twisters,
widespread damage

HARTVILLE – While the town of Guernsey was spared, the story was much different to the northeast Tuesday afternoon.

Baseball sized hail fell in Hartville, along with a torrent of rain, taking out windows in homes, vehicles and empty buildings throughout the community. While no injuries were reported, high winds were responsible for bringing down large limbs in surrounding rural areas.

A funnel cloud was reported at the Whalen Canyon Road area home of Jason and Jessica Taliafiero. Jessica reported the home suffered heavy damage to windows, siding and roof but survived the storm.

There were additional reports of storm damaged barns and grain bins throughout the area. Livestock was injured and killed and wide-spread crop damage was reported throughout the Platte River Valley.

The storm was the second of two severe systems to hit the area in recent weeks. In late August, golf- to baseball-sized hail fell west and southeast of Guernsey, leaving a path of broken windows along with damage to vehicle surfaces, siding and rooftops.

October

A family heirloom is
back home in Wyoming

As rugged as the country they ranched and lived on, Wyoming cowboys had few possessions more dear to them than their brand, their horses and their saddles.

Charles Herman Frederick was just such a man. Born and raised in the Guernsey area, he and his wife Estella ranched all of their lives, a leg of the family descended from Gottlieb Frederick, who came to America from Germany to establish a ranching tradition that carries on today.

In 1924, Charles special ordered a saddle from the well-known Hamley & Co. of Pendleton, Ore. The saddle was shipped to Guernsey in a process likely followed on many a ranch in those days.

In August this year, Charles’ granddaughter Winne Prewitt got a call from Scott Bartlett, a saddle and boot shop owner in Burke, South Dakota. He thought he had something Winnie would like to have – the Hanley saddle Charles Frederick ordered in 1924.

Winnie was astounded and happy the saddle had been discovered and saved. She and her husband Dave made the 800-mile round trip to Bartlette’s shop in South Dakota to pick up the saddle and bring it back to Guernsey the last week of September.

G-S Tech Trades big Harbor Freight winner

It isn’t often you find Troy Reichert at a loss for words.

A friend to all and a dedicated husband, father and educator, he spends most of his waking hours doing something to make life better for others. In October, the tables were turned as Aaron Schnelle, regional manager for Harbor Freight Tools, honored Reichert as one of the 15, second-place winners in the company’s Tools for Schools competition. 

The award comes with a portable tool cart and a check for $50,000, with a 70-30 percent split of the cash award between Reichert and the School.

During a school assembly, Reichert told those gathered that, despite the presence of his name on the check, the award belonged to everyone.

“This really isn’t my award,” Reichert said. “Projects at the Guard Camp and the VFW – that’s what made all this possible to begin with. And the support we’ve had from the administration to other staff members, and of course all the students who’ve enrolled in the classes and worked on the projects – that’s who this award is for.”

November

Guernsey VFW continues
annual community donations

In an effort to help the community, the VFW and Auxiliary donated money to the Hub City Motorcycle Club and the Guernsey Rural Fire District on Nov. 24.

As an annual donation, the VFW   helps with the annual Hub City Toy Run for the community. The VFW presented the club with $1,500 this year - $1,000 from the VFW Foundation and $500 from the Auxiliary. Program Director Don Mack wrote the grant to get the money coordinated.

“They’ve been doing this kind of thing since they (Hub City) started the toy run,” Mack said. “Hub City and the VFW do a lot of things together.

Mack said the local VFW donates as much money as they can for different events throughout the community throughout the year. Auxiliary President Pam Cain said the donation to the GRFD is also an annual event.

“We try to do this for the rural fire department,” Cain said. “We’ve done it for quite a few years.”

Guernsey-Sunrise teacher
 receives National Medal of Honor Society award

Troy Reichert gained recognition from the National Medal of Honor Society for his work instilling the qualities of military recipients of the awards in his students during the annual Veteran’s Day assembly in November at Guernsey-Sunrise School.

Reichert first learned about the National Medal of Honor Society Character Development Program after being named G-S Teacher of the Year in 2017 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Reichert earned a trip to Valley Forge, Penn., after winning both the district and state Teacher of the Year honors and placing fourth at the national level.

He brought the Character Development program back to Guernsey and, last year, the curriculum was taught to all freshmen and sophomores. Next year, it will be presented to incoming freshmen.

According to the Medal of Honor Society website, the program curriculum is based on “the important concepts of courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship and how these values can be exemplified in daily life.”

Appreciative of the award, one of several he received in 2019, Reichert said that wasn’t what drives his love of teaching.

“I don’t care about awards for me,” Reichert said. “What I look at is that it’s benefiting our students.”

December

Academy cadets learn job interview skills

“What motivates you to do a good job?” “Where do you expect to be five years from now?” “Describe something you failed at and what did you learn from it?”

Those were some of the questions volunteer interviewers posed to the 53 cadets of the Wyoming Cowboy Challenge Academy during a mock interview event at Camp Guernsey.

Each cadet selected a job from the Wyoming at Work job website to apply for. The cadets then sat in a 20-minute mock interview session to answer interviewer questions. After the sessions, interviewers scored the cadets for items including alertness, ambition, appearance, attitude, sociability, experience and knowledge. Cadets were then critiqued on their performance.

“The experience is valuable because they learn what it will be like when they go to a real interview,” English teacher Deidra Wilson said. “Some students don’t get that experience so they don’t know what it’s going to be like in an interview.”

Local students advance to District VFW contest

VFW Post No. 4471 in Guernsey recently named the winners of annual writing and oratory contests.

Students moving on in the competition this year are Julianna Schiele, Rachel Conrey and National VanNatter from the “Patriot’s Pen” essay contest. Mickayla VanNatter was named the local winner of the VFW “Voice of Democracy” oratory contest.

Don Mack said the winners of the contests earn a certificate and money. The top three winners in “Patriot’s Pen” and “Voice of Democracy” competitions progress to competition at the district level. The top contestant at the district level advances to state competition.

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