The Nicest Place in Wyoming: Casper

NICEST PLACES IN AMERICA 2020 FINALIST
"Through Sickness and Health"

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A neighborhood rallies around a family who needs it when illness strikes. It’s the Casper way.

If wide-open spaces and stunning views of the Rockies against beautiful sunsets are your thing, then Casper has a lot to offer you. Jim and Shelly Golay moved here in 2010, and realized quickly they had made a good choice. Their neighbors, Jay and Treva Hensley, only added to the perks of the city. “They’ve always been kind to us. When we moved in, Treva brought us cookies to welcome us to the neighborhood. She’s that type of person,” says Shelly, who nominated Casper as the Nicest Place in America.

When Jim was diagnosed with brain cancer less than two years later, the Hensleys only stepped up their neighborly game. “They began taking care of our yard work and snow removal. They would always ask if we needed anything, or walk over to the house just to check on us,” Shelly says. When Jim passed away in 2014, Golay says they continued to be, well, who they had always been. “They are still doing what they’ve always done. They’ll ask if I need any help or a meal. Treva will text and say she was just thinking of me, and then encourages me that way. She’s always thinking of some way to help.”

Treva Hensley, 75, has lived in Casper all of her life, and though she says she may be biased, she loves her town. “People here are ready at any minute to help out,” she says. “Casper was one of the best places to see the recent lunar eclipse, and people poured in from all over. Hotels spiked their prices, but residents here would donate rooms and trailers for people to stay in. That’s what Casper is about.”

downtown casper wyomingDenisTangneyJr/Getty Images
Casper, Wyoming is the second largest city in the state.

So when word got out that some of Casper’s homebound were in need of more than just their usual Meals on Wheels food deliveries, residents pitched in and gave what they could for their neighbors. Cleaning supplies, pet food, puzzles, board games, and even items that were impossible to source during the height of the pandemic supermarket shortages, like toilet paper and hand soap all came pouring in. 

It seems that whenever people need kindness in Casper, it’s given in abundance. Mitch Fickel is a local painter who knew that he and many of his contractor friends had the desperately sought-after N95 masks that healthcare workers needed. He saw on Facebook that there was a shortage and made his own post in response, directing his friends to drop off any N95 masks they could spare. Fickel, whose wife is a nurse, told the Casper Star Tribune that he’s given about 400 masks to the Wyoming Medical Center. “The only way you beat something like this, you get together as a team and kick its butt,” he said.

The Nomination

Jay and Treva HensleyCourtesy Treva Hensley
Jay and Treva Hensley (both on the left) with friends.

My Neighbors Jay and Treva have been the best since we moved in. When my husband got brain cancer they helped with yard work and snow removal. Always giving of kind gestures. Always lifting us up! When Jim passed away they were always helping me, anything they could. Meals, yard work, snow removal, putting my trash can away when I would forget. They still continue to care for me and if they don’t see me outside in a while they text to make sure I am alright and not down or anything. I know I can always count on them to be there for me no matter what happens! Love them so much!

It is not easy going through cancer and then being left a widow. There is not much for a support network outside of the family here so am thankful my neighbors stepped up and were such a support!

Casper is a nice kind community already. With Covid19 it seems people are reaching out to care even more for those in need.

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