Cheyenne LEADS Board Member Receives Community Spirit Award

CHEYENNE – A well-respected Cheyenne attorney whose lifelong passion for civic service was kindled by his early participation in the Boy Scouts has been selected as this year’s recipient of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle’s Community Spirit Award.

Gregory C. Dyekman will be presented with the award at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18, at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. The public is invited to attend.

This is the 17th year that the newspaper has recognized people for their outstanding service to the community, according to L. Michael McCraken, WTE president and publisher.

“Greg has been called on by many civic organizations for many years because they know he’s a leader who gets things done,” McCraken said. “And when someone gets a call from Greg asking for help, it’s impossible to refuse because you know that he has given such a tremendous amount of his time to make our community better.”

Not a burden…

Dyekman noted that he doesn’t see community service as a burden.

“It’s the enriching part of my life,” he said. “It’s something I enjoy very much, and it’s a way for me to give back to a community that has been very good to me and my family.

“I’ve also met so many tremendous people doing this kind of work. That’s the best part about it.”

In thinking back over his many years of volunteerism, Dyekman said his membership in Boy Scout Troop 101 laid the foundation for his commitment to community service.

He joined the troop as a teenager along with several of the other kids in his neighborhood. One of the first projects he remembers is going door to door selling brooms as a fundraiser for the Cheyenne Lions Club.

He noted that many of his Boy Scout activities and merit badge requirements had community service components.

Dyekman achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and later was involved with the Explorers. He has helped raise money to support the Scouting program and since 1998 has served on the board of trustees of the Longs Peak Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

In 2006, he was the Distinguished Citizen honoree for the Cheyenne district.

In recent years, he has been active with the University of Wyoming, and particularly on its foundation, which raises money for the school and has achieved record levels of funding thanks to several large charitable gifts from major donors.

He has served on the foundation board since 2003, is a past chairman and since 2012 has been an emeritus member.

Founding member…

He was a founding member of UW’s College of Law Dean’s Advisory Board in 2002 and still serves on the board. Since 1997, he has served on UW’s College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and is a former chairman of the group.

Both of those organizations are involved in recruitment, fundraising and scholarships for their respective schools.

He has been an avid supporter and fundraiser for the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra, has served on its board and is a past president.

Dyekman noted that having a successful orchestra is not only a benefit for local patrons of cultural activities, it also is a major draw for people and new businesses considering moving to Cheyenne.

“People don’t realize how lucky we are in Cheyenne to be so close to all these universities that are feeders for the orchestra,” he said.

And unlike many symphony orchestras, even ones in major metropolitan areas, Cheyenne’s is solvent.

Dyekman also said it was a major accomplishment when the orchestra board hired William Intriligator as its music director and conductor in 2008.

Dyekman served as a loaned executive for United Way of Laramie County starting in 2003, was campaign co-chairman in 2009 and remains on its board of directors.

He also has served on the Meals on Wheels foundation board, including two terms as president.

Other local service…

He has been a member of the Cheyenne Kiwanis Club since 1981 and served as a board member and on its foundation. The group is one of the largest Kiwanis clubs in the world and is active with a variety of local civic service projects.

Dyekman also served on the Cheyenne Family YMCA board as president in 1992 and 1993. He also helped to raise funds for the Davis Hospice Center, a first-rate care facility giving comfort to elderly and terminally ill patients and their families during the final weeks of life.

Since 2005, Dyekman has served on the board of Cheyenne Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and the Laramie Boomerang. Since 2012, he also has served on the board of directors for Cheyenne LEADS, one of the most successful economic development organizations in the region.

Dyekman was in the 2003 class of Leadership Wyoming, a program that enables leaders from around the state to learn more about Wyoming and make professional contacts. He said it was a great opportunity to meet others who are involved in their communities.

“This is a small enough state that you can do something really great if you work at it,” Dyekman observed.

Dyekman is an ordained elder and deacon of the First Presbyterian Church and was elected church treasurer in 1986.

Consultant too…

He also serves as a volunteer consultant for governance and endowment issues for the Cheyenne Little Theatre board of directors, Cheyenne Animal Shelter Foundation, Meals on Wheels Foundation, Laramie County Library Foundation and United Way.

He also is a longtime member of the Young Men’s Literary Club of Cheyenne. That group meets weekly from September through May to discuss current events, politics, history and other topics and to hear literary papers researched and presented by its members.

Dyekman is an accomplished public speaker, and he noted that his participation on his high school and college debate teams benefitted him greatly in his career and charitable pursuits.

Dyekman is a 1973 graduate of Cheyenne’s East High. At the University of Wyoming, he received a bachelor of science degree with honors in accounting in 1977. He went on to earn a law degree in 1980, graduating in the top 10 percent of his class.

Starting his career as a law clerk in 1979 at what was then the Cheyenne firm of Dray, Madison & Thomson, P.C., he later became a partner and is now senior partner at Dray, Dyekman, Reed & Healey, P.C.

His practice includes banking and commercial law, business and commercial litigation, bankruptcy, civil litigation, corporation law, tax and estate planning, workers’ compensation and real estate, property and employment law.

Staying positive…

Those who know Dyekman well are hard-pressed to remember him ever saying a bad word about anyone else or complaining about anything.

“I never saw people who were negative accomplish much,” he said. “People who were positive really got the results.”

He also said he is pleased that he has been able to be of service to many worthwhile organizations while helping them achieve sustainable funding and volunteer participation so they can continue to flourish and benefit the community for many years to come.

Monica Lincoln, one of the people who nominated Dyekman for the award, described him well when she said:

“Greg is very optimistic in all aspects of life and sees the good in everything. He is gracious at all times and very generous with his time and expertise. Everything Greg does, both professionally and personally, is done with the utmost honesty and integrity.”

At the Sept. 18 award presentation, Dyekman will receive a tabletop version of the life-sized bronze statue of Col. Edward Archibald Slack that the Wyoming Tribune Eagle donated to Cheyenne Frontier Days and unveiled in 1998.

The bronze was created by Cheyenne artist Rich Haines and now stands near the Old West Museum. Titled “Community Spirit,” it was commissioned by the newspaper in 1997 during the 100th anniversary of CFD.

“The statue commemorates Slack’s role in getting Frontier Days started and honors the tremendous community volunteerism and involvement that makes this outstanding event possible,” McCraken said.

Slack was the owner, publisher and editor of the Cheyenne Daily Sun-Leader, a predecessor of the WTE.

He played a major role in developing community support for an annual rodeo celebration after a traveling railroad agent for the Union Pacific suggested that communities along the rail line hold annual festivals to promote passenger traffic.

In a front page editorial, Slack suggested the name “Frontier Day” for the first event, which was held Sept. 23, 1897.

Slack used his newspaper to encourage other community leaders to join in and help create what is now the “world’s largest outdoor rodeo and Western celebration.”

He continued promoting the event during its challenging fledging years and as its popularity and fame grew.