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Mary Fulfills Her Western Dreams in Wyoming

When Mary, age 80, reflects on her life, there’s a memory that always puts a smile on her face.

When she was eight years old, after dinner, her family would sit together to watch a television show Usually, it was a Western featuring Roy Rogers, who was her father’s favorite.

Roy Rogers was the “King of Cowboys,” and his movies captured a simpler time. Men on horseback would sing songs as they rode across rugged terrain, sleeping with their saddles for pillows under the glittering stars. Tucked into her bed, Mary would fall asleep dreaming about her own adventure out West in Wyoming, just like her favorite film stars.

To this day, Westerns remind Mary of her family, and she treasures the many good memories they made watching them together.

Mary’s positive childhood experiences impacted her values and how she chose to spend her time as an adult. Before she got married and started a family, Mary taught at a special education school, which sparked a deep love of teaching children.

Mary’s daughter, Dawne, describes her mother as one of the most generous and kindhearted individuals she has ever known.

Mary is an active church member and plays the piano for her congregation. She spent many years volunteering at Sunday School, becoming a person who young people could turn to during difficult times.

Mary is no stranger to difficult times herself. Almost 25 years ago, Mary’s husband passed away unexpectedly. After 33 years of marriage and partnership, Mary felt isolated and alone. Her children connected her to a local grief counselor and helped her through her darkest times. Mary has found a sense of peace by staying involved in the community and continuing to serve her church.

When we heard Mary’s story, we were thrilled to be able to recognize the wonderful individual she is today by helping her fulfill a lifelong wish. Accompanied by her daughter Dawne, Mary finally stepped foot in Wyoming. For an authentic experience out West, the pair were guests at a beautiful horse ranch in Ten Sleep, Wyoming, nestled in the western foothills of the Bighorn Mountains.

As Mary took in the open sky, the sweet smell of sagebrush, and the rugged terrain for miles around, she was transported to her childhood memories of watching classic Westerns with her father.

“I kept thinking how much my Dad would have loved everything about Wyoming,” she said. “There weren’t any feelings of sadness when remembering him during my Wish. Instead, there was peace and comfort.”

During her time at the ranch, Mary loved interacting with the horses and walking the beautiful grounds. In the evenings, she, Dawne, and their hosts would gather on the patio, sharing stories and looking out across the ranch as the sun set.

Mary had never seen stars so bright. She finally understood why cowboys wanted to sleep under the open sky after all.

Sharing this experience and creating new memories with her daughter made Mary’s trip to Wyoming even more meaningful. “She is my soul mate,” Mary said with a smile. “She just gets me.”

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