Congratulations to our Citizens of the Year

And we thought last year was a no-brainer for our Citizen of the Year.
Well, yes, it was last year too. Marty and Jen Mechaley were the easy choice for the Custer County Chronicle Citizens of the year for 2022 for all of the work they did in helping daughters (and a niece) of Warren Jeffs escaping the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and move on to productive lives. You all know the story by now.
This year’s Citizen of the Year choice was even more of a slam dunk. The choice was glaringly obvious. What Custer Cares did for the City of Custer cannot be overlooked. This group of people brought a much-needed nursing home facility back to Custer, overlooking countless obstacles in doing so. If that doesn’t qualify them for Citizen of the Year status, we aren’t sure what does.
When Monument Health announced it was closing its nursing home, the easy thing to do would have been to lie down and say, “Well, that sucks, but I guess it is what it is.” Thankfully, there were people in the community that weren’t about to take the closing lying down.
Chief among those was Custer Mayor Bob Brown, who immediately went to work to find out ways to keep the nursing home open. When it became apparent that there was nothing that could be done to convince Monument Health to keep the facility open, he went to work trying to find other avenues to have a nursing home reopen in the community. Bob shares in this award too, because he was the spark that lit the fire that is Custer Cares.
Brown couldn’t have picked a better task force to make the Custer Care and Rehab Center a reality. He started by enlisting the help of Janet Boyer, one of the most successful business owners in Custer, and someone with a true heart for the community who also instantly recognized Custer needs to continue to have a nursing home. From there some others helped, but three others dug in and helped see the project through—Mike Tennyson, Monica McGowan and Rick Wheeler.
McGowan is a relentless steadfast researcher, while few have as much business, negotiating and contract knowledge as Mike Tennyson. His success within this community (and across the country, for that matter) speaks for itself. Add former Custer County Sheriff Rick Wheeler, another longtime Custer resident who is a business owner and fountain of knowledge, and it’s little surprise the nursing home came to pass. We truly had our best and brightest working on the issue.
As always, Custer had no lack of citizens who could have been considered for our award, but this year the choice once again seemed obvious. It had to be the Custer Cares team, who revived a business in town that was considered flatlined.
Congratulations to the Custer Cares team, with an assist from Mayor Bob Brown and a handful of others. Your dedication to the city is a blessing.

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