In November of 2023, the Fay Rural Community Foundation (FRCF) had the pleasure of joining forces with two incredibly generous Fay Ranches Wyoming land agents, Neil Bangs and Kelsea Vaughan, to assist the Cokeville High School Junior class. Their support came in the form of vital funds dedicated to helping these students embark on a school trip that promised a transformative experience.

At the time of our initial call for help, we faced a daunting shortfall in funding needed to ensure all 16 students could participate in this life-changing journey to Washington, DC. However, our plea did not go unanswered. Thanks to the remarkable support from Garden & Gun Magazine and an equally generous couple from Charleston, South Carolina, we were able to raise the remaining funds. Their contributions meant that all 16 students in the class could attend, removing financial barriers and opening doors to new experiences.

Cokeville, Wyoming, is a small, tight-knit community known for its stunning landscapes and a strong sense of community. Nestled in Lincoln County, this charming town is home to approximately 500 residents who cherish their rural roots. The town is perhaps best known for the “Cokeville Miracle,” a testament to the community’s resilience and spirit in the face of adversity.

Cokeville High School, a cornerstone of this community, is a small but vibrant institution where students receive a close-knit and supportive education. The school’s commitment to fostering a nurturing environment allows students to thrive academically and personally. With limited resources, opportunities for expansive experiences are cherished and often rare, making the generosity received for this trip even more significant.

For many of these students, it was their first time flying on an airplane. For others, it was their first venture beyond the familiar landscapes of the West. One student beautifully summarized the impact of this trip: “This experience has opened my eyes.”

“I have never felt more humbled. The outpouring of generosity from our community and beyond exemplifies the incredible power of collective effort. It is a testament to what can be achieved when people come together with a shared goal of enriching the lives of our youth.” Susan Ferrin, Executive Director

This experience not only broadened the horizons of these young students but also reaffirmed our mission at FRCF to support and uplift rural communities. We extend our heartfelt thanks to Neil Bangs, Kelsea Vaughan, Garden & Gun Magazine, and the compassionate couple from Charleston. Your contributions have made a lasting difference in these students’ lives, and we are eternally grateful.

Together, we have shown that no dream is too big when supported by a caring community. Here’s to more journeys, more firsts, and more eye-opening experiences for the young minds of tomorrow.

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