Oil Pump Jack

An oil pump jack in Glenrock.

Far too many voices in Converse County go unseen and unheard. People whose important stories or valuable insights are left untold because of life’s circumstances or simply lacking access to someone willing to give them a bigger voice.

Through a partnership with the Wyoming Humanities Council, we’re hoping to change that during the next two months. We will be talking to people who have never had the opportunity to tell their stories, providing stories and photographs and videos about people in Converse County who are not “those names always in the news.”

We want to connect with you. We want to listen and to understand. And, with our help, we want to give you a medium through which to tell your story.

We’re looking for folks who have been laid off from our oil fields, the coal mines, or other energy field jobs.

We’re looking for people who have had to keep working despite the coronavirus pandemic. Maybe you didn’t get laid off, but you’re the only one bringing home money in your house. Maybe you work in a convenience store, truck stop, cafe, motel or other service-related industry and you CAN’T miss a day of work – because you’re the only one working – but being possibly exposed to COVID everyday feels risky and you’re constantly worried.

Maybe, like so many others, you were laid off because of the energy bust, another casualty of the pandemic. You’re frustrated and you’re struggling. This is not what you signed up for in life.

Maybe you’re a small business owner who is hanging on by a thread, not knowing if your doors will still be open next month or even next week. You’ve done everything you could do to keep your employees working so they get paychecks, but as much as it’s breaking your heart, you’ve had to start laying them off one at a time. You did everything right, you followed the rules . . . but coronavirus.

I don’t know your story, yet – but I want to. Reporters Zach Miners, Chase Vialpando and I want to talk to you. More than that, we want to listen, to really hear you and to understand what life is like for you right now. We want to help you tell your story. We want to help you be heard.

Why?

Because, maybe . . . it might help. It might help you, it might help someone else.

Maybe you’re reading this right now and thinking, “She’s not talking about me, she’s talking about my good friend Sue who works at . . .” or “Bob got laid off from the mine. He’s always telling me how he wishes people really knew what he’s going through right now, what the real story is.”

Maybe this hits home with you for a number of reasons or maybe just one.

If what I’m saying resonates with you, please reach out and call me at 307-358-2965.

Everyone has a voice. It deserves to be heard. You have my word I will listen.

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