Archive for the ‘BP in Wamsutter WY’ Category

Mayor Ken Waldner and Hope Waldner, his wife, pose for a picture in the Wamsutter Conoco gas station, 350 McCormick St., Wamsutter, Wyo., on Nov. 11, 2009.


On my road trips along I-80 in Wyoming between Rawlins and Rock Springs, I discovered Wamsutter. The 2000 census recorded 261 residents. The town’s sign says, “Population 681,” with a partly worn off “1.” I see the growth when I visit and hear about it from Hope Waldner, who I met while she was working in the Conoco gas station. She’s involved in the town and her husband, Ken Waldner, is its mayor. He also owns the station with his cousin, Greg Waldner.

Hope Waldner, who is now my friend, explained that the Wamsutter Community Health Center under the direction of Dr. Wayne Couch opened in January. The town added the south side of Wamsutter to its water and sewer system and installed a new water tower and water meters throughout the town. Current goals include getting a commercial building built, having a grocery store in by fall, and completing a landscaping project.

“Little by little our community will look better as we plant trees and put curb and gutters and sidewalks along main street,” Hope Waldner said.

After her long list of improvements, she added a big surprise given the images in the media today of BP with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. She said, “All of these improvements have been with the financial help of the governor. He gave us $3.5 million as long as we could get an industrial match. BP matched that.”

But, that is not all she said BP has done. It has been “a big part in getting the daycare facility and creating an endowment to help sustain it,” she said. The “Little Ranch Hands” daycare facility has been open 5 days a week 12 hours a day for about three years. The director also directs the town’s youth program with fun events for children after school and during the summer.

BP is putting its money to good use in a town that cares about itself, too. It has two ambulances run by volunteer EMTs, a volunteer fire department, a town non-profit board, Wamsutter Community, Inc. where Hope Waldner serves, and beautification and communication committees. I don’t know exactly how these services shake out as to whether they are completely private or a partnership with government, but the people in Wamsutter are making their town better.

If you would like to read more about Wamsutter’s amazing Conoco gas station’s signs and art work in the bathrooms, see these links:

Welcome sign and pictures of the mural on the bathroom walls:
Lessons from Wamsutter, Wyoming:

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