Laramie community service organization Interfaith-Good Samaritan received a statewide Community Hero Award from the Wyoming Association of Municipalities in Sheridan on June 13.
The Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) is a statewide organization that represents all cities and towns in Wyoming. The association advocates for cities’ and towns’ common interests and provides training for WAM members.
Each year, WAM hosts an annual convention. This year, Interfaith-Good Samaritan Executive Director Mike Vercauteren, Interfaith Board of Directors member Susan Sundeen and Laramie City Councilmember Brian Harrington attended.
During the convention, WAM gave away two Community Hero awards. One went to Interfaith-Good Samaritan and the other went to Dennis Switzer, who owns an AM radio station in Douglas.
“It’s an award that represents outstanding organizations and individuals in our community that have really worked to make sure our community the best it can be,” Harrington said.
The Laramie City Council nominated Interfaith for the award in April.
“Interfaith-Good Samaritan represents the culture of Laramie that makes it such a cool place to live,” Harrington said. “The services that Interfaith provides really meet a need that our community has that we otherwise couldn’t address as a city.”
Vercauteren explained Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and that Interfaith works to meet the bottom level of those needs, which are food, water, warmth, clothing and shelter.
“Interfaith-Good Samaritan provides a means for our community to help neighbors meet their basic needs, and we do this by addressing issues of food and security and homelessness prevention,” Vercauteren said.
City Manager Janine Jordan, who also attended the convention, was the one who called Vercauteren in April and notified him Interfaith was nominated for the award by the City Council.
“They make a significant impact to the quality of life in Laramie for so many of our residents,” Harrington said. “I think it was a no-brainer that they would be a nominee.”
Vercauteren expressed Interfaith was “thrilled” to win the award. They had a mix of feeling “grateful, humbled and honored, all at the same time.”
Harrington explained he thinks WAM chose Interfaith to win the award because the organization’s members saw the positive impact Interfaith has on the Laramie community.
“They are absolutely deserving of the award,” Harrington concluded.