Living Legends of Wyoming – Bruce’s Top 5
There have been many Wyomingites that have served their communities and state well. Here's a look at five individuals who have certainly made their mark in Wyoming and some who have represenated the country as well. They include a former Vice President and Casper native, a former U.S. Senator, former first lady of Wyoming who is now a Federal Judge, a lady who has done so much for her community and state, and lastly, an Olympic Champion.
Dick Cheney spent most of his youth and young adult years in Casper and Wyoming. He spent ten years as the state's lone representative in the U.S. House. Cheney also served in four administrations with positions that included Defense Secretary under President George H.W. Bush, and Vice President under George W. Bush. The Former Vice President along with his wife Lynne were recently honored on August 9th by the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming. Cheney is releasing his autobiography of his 40 plus years in public office serving Wyoming and his country this month.
Former Senator Allan Simpson served Wyoming in the U.S. Senate from 1979 to 1997. Before serving in the Senate, the Cody native served in the US Army in 1955-56 in Germany. Simpson also served in the Wyoming House from 1964 to 1977. In the U.S. Senate, Simpson was in many leadership roles including Majority Whip and Chairperson of the Senate Veteran's affairs Committee. Simpson has kept busy since retiring and is certainly always good for a good quote or two. In 2010 President Obama asked Simpson to serve as co-chair with Erskine Bowles on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Simpson is the son of former Governor and U.S. Senator Milward Simpson. Simpson and his wife Ann reside in their hometown of Cody.
Nancy Freudenthal became the first woman in Wyoming to become a District Federal Judge. She was nominated by her husband Governor Dave Freudenthal. The U.S. Senate confirmed Freudenthal on May 5th of this year. Before becoming a Federal Judge, Freudenthal was Wyoming First Lady during her husband's two terms of Governor from Jan. 2003 to Jan. of 2011. Thoughout her career Judge Fruedenthal has served on many boards and commissions.
Susie McMurry has been a integral part of the many successes of Casper. Susie and her husband Mick have shared business and philanthropy in their many years in Casper. Susie grew up believing her family encompassed the whole community as written in an article on the McMurry's in "Made in Wyoming, Our Legacy of Success" by Rena Delbridge. Susie grew up in Hanna with her family who owned and operated a gas station, restaurant, motel and bar. Susie and Mick created the McMurry Foundation with a broad mission to build a better Wyoming through partnerships with nonprofit organizations in which they have raised millions of dollars. Susie has been a big part of many organizations including CASA, Court Appointed Special Adocates, The United Way and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming. At the Boys and Girls Club recent Awards and Recognition Breakfast it was annouonced that a new technology addition will be named after Susie.
Wyoming has had many sports stars, but nothing captured the attention than Rulon Gardner, a two-time Olympic medalist. Gardner who grew up in the Star Valley area pulled one of the biggest Olympic upsets by defeating Russian Aleksandro Karelin for the Gold Medal in Greco-Roman Wrestling at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Karelin was previously undefeated in 13-years of International competition. Gardner went on to capture the world title in 2001. Gardner also earned a Bronze medal in Athens in 2004. After the Bronze medal match he announced his retirement by placing his wrestling shoes on the mat, a traditional wrestling signature. After the 2004 Olympics Gardner's weight ballooned 210 pounds, culminating in a total body weight of 474 pounds. He went on the reality television show, Biggest Loser. Gardner lost 173 pounds before leaving the show for personal reasons. Gardner is now in training for another comeback and a possible Gold Medal in 2012 Olympics in London.