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?
For this week’s #WHYoming, I had a chance to sit down with Terri Nations, the Administrative Assistant for Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency. Terri takes care of a lot of the day to day responsibilities such as answering calls, helping volunteers out, recruiting volunteers, and helping direct visitors around Downtown Rock Springs.
Born and raised in Rock Springs, there are few people you can meet who care more about this community than Terri. She is a proud native and she is beyond happy to be involved in the effort to make Downtown thrive.
Terri is also an animal lover who dedicates a lot of her time to volunteering for the Red Desert Humane Society. She spends part of every Saturday out there helping walk and care for the animals.
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Terri, what does your job as Administrative Assistant at the Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency entail?
I do a little bit of everything. I put together board meeting packets, write all the checks for the bills that we pay out, answer the phone, help and recruit volunteers, help visitors that come into the office. We’re kind of like a mini chamber. We have the downtown walking tour, the underground art exhibit, all the murals, so there’s lots to tell people about. It’s kind of like we’re the director of the Downtown. I also do things like fill bags for ARTini, I make calls to people for donations, I do mailers, just all sorts of stuff like that.
What do you enjoy about your job?
Pretty much the people. The people I work with are amazing, the people with the City are amazing. And just the people who come in here. You just meet a different array of people on a daily basis. I’ve met transients who jumped off the train. I met a gentleman who had a million dollar RV out at the Fairgrounds this past summer. So I’ve met everyone from millionaires to transients.
Also being able to help redevelop downtown. I’m a native here, I was born and raised so I was here when Downtown was a big and happening thing. I saw it debilitate and then now we’re on the other spectrum of building it back up.
I hear you spend a lot of time caring for animals. Can you tell me a bit about that?
I was a board member at Red Desert Humane Society for several years. I stepped down but now I’m on a committee for the City and we’re the ones who help with the issues that involve city matters like feral cats, dogs hanging out the back of trucks, who is liable for dog bites, and those types of things.
I’m also on the animal care committee at Red Desert. I love going out there to volunteer. Right now I have my favorite little doggie out there, his name is Toby and he’s been out there since September of last year. I go out there and walk him every Saturday, I bake him treats, and I also help with the other animals out there too.
Why do you see it as important to volunteer at the humane society?
Animals have souls too and they deserve to be taken care of. No animal, no human being, nothing deserves to be treated the way some of these animals have been treated in the past. So if I bring them a little bit of joy to them by going out and walking them on a Saturday, or bringing them a treat then I feel like I’ve done something.
I just love animals. I just rescued a bearded dragon that was being abused and not being taken care of right. Petco had called me and said they were going to take him to the vet and have him put down because he has a bone disease. He wasn’t fed right and he didn’t have the right kind of lighting and those kinds of things. I took him in and he was about as big as my thumb when I first got him. Now he’s grown and he’s using three of the four limbs.
His name is Sobek and he has his own bedroom. His bedroom has Marvel characters in it. He’s got Captain America and Thor and Loki and all those guys.
How did you end up in Rock Springs?
I was born here at the old hospital on C Street. I’ve never left.
What is something unique about you?
I’m very spiritual, I’m very charismatic, I guess I’m kind of a weirdo because I think everything has a soul. There’s a meaning to everything that happens to us in life. I guess I’m an old hippie.
What are some of your hobbies?
My grandkids right now. I have eight of them so my hobbies are going to their activities. I’ve got grandsons who play football, grandsons who box, granddaughters who are in band at the high school and junior high, so those are my hobbies right now.
What do you appreciate most about our community?
That it’s a small community and that pretty much everybody knows everybody. Even if you do have your differences, it seems as though when something bad happens to someone in our community, everyone pulls together. I just like the kindness in our community and the generosity.
If you could give one brief piece of advice, what would it be?
Be kind to each other. And we’re all given a small amount of time on this earth so we need to make each day matter.
Where is your favorite place to hang out in Sweetwater County?
Red Desert Humane Society because I love animals.
Would you rather walk, ride a bike, take a horse, or drive a car?
I’d rather walk because you get to see the beauty of everything when you walk. I just love being outdoors, even if it’s just on my back porch.
What would you sing at karaoke night?
Oh, definitely “I Will Survive”. I’m 58 years old, soon to be 59, and I’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and I recently had a small stroke, so I’ve been through a lot and I’m still here.
How would your friends describe you?
Fun. Different. There’s never a dull moment when Terri’s around.
What is one of your proudest accomplishments?
I think it would be writing the grant for this building we’re in right now (the train depot). It was a million dollar grant through the Wyoming Business Council. Our previous director, Jeff Pederson, and I, along with several other city people did a lot of work to get this grant for this building. The first time I walked in here it was very decomposed, there were dead bats in the corner, you walked into the back area and there were mice and pigeons and debris everywhere. It almost didn’t look salvageable, and then through a million dollar grant, we have a beautiful facility now.
So that and my kids.
Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?
Kathy Bates. I just love her, she’s so versatile and full of life.
Why do you continue to live in Wyoming?
It’s beautiful and it’s small. I’ve visited places like Philadelphia, Chicago, and the Jersey Shore, and places like that, and I’m glad that I live in a small town and that all four of my kids were raised here and my grandchildren are being raised here. There’s more camaraderie. There’s more ownership of your community here.