Welcome to our series, #WHYoming, brought to you in partnership by Kaumo Law.
We are highlighting people from around our communities and asking them a few questions. We want to learn a little about them and see why they chose this great state to raise their families, start their businesses, or simply to ask — Why Wyoming?
This week, I had a chance to sit down with Ryan Rust. He is the Executive Director of the Young at Heart Community Center.
This community series is brought to you by:
Ryan, how did you end up in Rock Springs?
I was born and raised in Green River. I graduated from the University of Wyoming in 2011. I moved back to town right after I graduated college and began working as a mechanic for the school district, and I saw this job opportunity open up. I had since enrolled in the Masters in Public Administration program at UW, so I’m still doing that, and I’ve been here for two years.
I moved back to be near family. Just over five years ago, I met my fiance and we moved into a little house in Rock Springs together and I’ve been here ever since.
What is something unique about you?
I am a sixth generation in Sweetwater County. My great great-great grandparents were married here in 1888, one year before Wyoming even became a state.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
I like the outdoor opportunities, the recreation. The slower pace of life; I really enjoy that. And I like that it’s a close-knit community and when anything happens you always have that community support there and people that care about you, so I like that.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
I would say to get involved and be part of the community; be the change you wish to see. Positive change happens because people take an active role in their community, and I would really encourage people to do that.
“Be the change you wish to see.”
– Ryan Rust
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
Probably on the Green River. I’m a big fisherman, especially out north of town between Green River and Seedskadee, I love being up there.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse or drive a car?
I would say that I’d rather bet on a horse, work on the car, and walk.
I like evening walks in the community. I also like to back pack and hike, up in the Wind Rivers, up to Veera Lake.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
I would probably sing With a Little Help From My Friends, the Joe Cocker version. But there’s no way I could hit the notes that he hits.
It just happens to be one of my favorite songs, and I think there’s some good messages in there.
How would your friends describe you?
I’m pretty quiet; I’m contemplative, introspective. I’m a thinker, but I also like to think I have a dry sense of humor and that’s what they would say I hope.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Certainly being here at Young at Heart and leading the organization. Being able to help so many community members, I’m pretty proud of that.
When I was 15, I was able to save up all my money and took my grandpa fishing in Alaska for Christmas. Because that had always been a dream of his and so I was pretty happy to be able to do that for him. That was neat to do. I out fished him.
Just getting to spend that time with him and see a new place was pretty cool.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
I would say because I’m an old soul and Scottish heritage, so it would have to pick Sean Connery.
Don’t know that I look like him and he’s 60 years older than me, but I relate to him. I’d like to say I’m as suave, but I’m not.
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
The biggest reason is family, because my family is all here and we’re a very close-knit family, and I love to be around them.
But also, I like the community and the outdoor activities. I know the best fishing spots and I don’t want to have to re learn those somewhere else.
I think there’s a lot of opportunity.
People are always talking about how younger folks move out of the state because there’s not a lot of opportunities.
And while that’s true in some respects, I think that there’s other kinds of opportunities in Sweetwater County and Wyoming you wouldn’t get elsewhere, and I enjoy that.
– Ryan Rust
There are good paying jobs, it’s a high standard of living. I actually am one of the odd ducks that really likes the weather, I like the cold and long winters.
If you’d like us to interview yourself or someone you know for #WHYoming, please send us suggestions to Lillian@sweetwaternow.com