PHOTOS: Spirit of Susie McMurry Filled the Ford Wyoming Center at Boys & Girls Clubs Reverse Raffle
She may not have been there in the flesh but, in spirit, Susie McMurry radiated throughout the Ford Wyoming Center on Saturday during the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming's annual Reverse Raffle and Auction.
She was there when Ashley Bright opened the event. She was there when the donations were announced. She was there when the kids of the Boys & Girls Clubs introduced themselves to the hundreds in attendance.
Susie McMurry's spirit, her legacy, was alive and well on Saturday night as countless people gathered to raise money for one of Wyoming's most important organizations, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming.
And raise money, they did.
A release from the Boys & Girls Clubs stated that "The community changed the game for youth by supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming (BGCCW) 'Game Changers!' Reverse Raffle & Auction on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Ford Wyoming Center. Preliminary estimates show that over $885,725 was raised for the Club’s mission 'to inspire all youth, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens.'"
One of the biggest examples of productive, responsible, caring citizens was Susie McMurry. And before the evening's festivities began, Boys & Girls Clubs CEO Ashley Bright asked the crowd for a moment of a silence to honor Susie, before offering his own tribute to the late philanthropist.
"It was a smile," Bright began. "It was a hug. A 'How are you? How's your family? What is your need?' Susie believed in following your dreams, following with your heart. 'Make sure you follow the responsibility.' 'Children are the sunshine in our lives,' Susie would say. 'And if we don't take care of our children, our world will be without sunshine.'
"Tonight, I want to bring you back," Bright continued. "I want to lead you into the evening with an ode to Susie. I'm so thankful for her. [I'm thankful] for her kindness, [I'm thankful] for her will and her desire and for her wisdom. [I'm thankful] for the countless hours of dedication to the community; the example of her and her husband's marriage. I am thankful for her humbleness, her humility, her confidence, and her laughter. For her smile, for her friendship, for her support. I am thankful for Susie McMurry."
Bright offered more words; words that came straight from the heart and those in attendance offered their solemn applause to a woman who impacted the community in countless ways.
Senator John Barrasso was in attendance at the event, and he spoke about Susie as well, telling K2 Radio News about how much of a pillar Susie McMurry was; not just in Casper, but in Wyoming as a whole.
"We're here at the Boys and Girls Club banquet, and I'm just sitting here looking at the seat where Susie McMurry would normally be sitting," Senator Barrasso told K2 Radio News. "She was always down front, always helping people. And it's not just the Boys & Girls Club; it's so many events around the community. She would be there, volunteering her time, her energy and, of course, the financial support, which means so much to all of these organizations. The Child Development Center, the Boys & Girls Club - she was always committed to young people, always committed to the community."
Barrasso continued, stating that the depth and breadth of Susie's contributions went far beyond Natrona County.
"Susie and the McMurry Foundation made unbelievable contributions to our community here in Casper, but also to the entire state of Wyoming," Senator Barrasso said. "Talk about paying it forward; these people are 100% committed. Bobbi and I considered Susie and Mick to be great, great friends. And after we lost Mick, it fell on Susie and she carried the weight of the foundation and her heart was able to carry a big weight. That's how people knew Susie over the years. They just loved her, admired her, respected her and are so grateful for the way she put forward for this community. She gave it all for this community and for the Cowboy Code. She lived each day with courage, and she took pride in her work and she did what needed to be done."
That is what Susie McMurry did, and it's what the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming strive to do each and every day, with each and every young person that participates in their organization. The Boys & Girls Club is raising up a new generation of future 'Susie McMurry's.' Susie saw that; she saw what the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming were offering to the young people of Wyoming and it's why she gave so much of her time, her resources, and her heart to the organization.
The Reverse Raffle and Auction was a celebration; it was a celebration of Susie McMurry, a celebration of Wyoming's youth, and a celebration of all of those who choose to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Wyoming.
Photos from the event can be seen below: