Sep 18, 2012 - By Jeremy HillBe part of the effort at Friday's RHS football game
Cresting Beaver Rim as I dropped down from Sweetwater Station in mid-July, an overwhelming sense of relief came upon me. I was home, back among the sprawling foothills of the Wind River range and the vast expanse of sagebrush.
Driving along, I wondered what was new between Rawlins and Riverton, surprised by the relative increase in white crosses and memorials.
As a family we made the decision to leave the eight-lane traffic of Greater Houston. It was a longing for family and the quieter way of life that brought us to that decision, but it also brought fits of despair during that first month.
Calling Riverton my hometown is something I am very proud of. My wife, Courtney, a Corpus Christi native, has always wanted to live in the mountains on 26 acres. She contends that one should suffice for the house, and another 25 would make a great pasture.
Of course, grooming the beaches of south Texas is much different from goading the prairies of desert Wyoming.
While the sand may blow similarly, the refreshing breeze is replaced by a bitter wind that takes some getting used to. Our 26 acres has been minimized to three, but we are happy and teaching our kids to be tough enough to wear jackets on these brisk mornings in September, even when they would rather sport tank tops and flip flops.
Our moving truck was three weeks behind us, but we learned to tough that out, too. Thankful for grandparents in Riverton, our family of four began to truly understand the meaning of slowing down and enjoying the simple things like deer in our yard and sour plums on the trees. An irrigation ditch proved to be a perfect playground for our second-grade son and kindergarten daughter. Fancy electronics and winter wardrobes smashed into a truck proved elusive long enough for us to really realize what a blessing Riverton will be to us. New friends, old friends and caring family provided a camaraderie that is lost in bigger cities.
That sense of fellowship makes me think of the stories my grandma, Liz Christensen, used to tell about the folks who rode the Help for Health bus to and from Casper every day as she underwent cancer treatment almost 20 years ago. The tight night group of "survivors" held each other's hand and explored the loneliness and desperation of cancer together.
The triumphs sometimes outweighed the tragedies, but unfortunately the ribbons told us another truth. We have neighbors still struggling with the disease, battling it quietly for years. While community organizations and industrious young men have come forward to raise awareness and funds, it is time for Riverton High School to reach out even further than we have and celebrate those who are tough enough to continue the fight against cancer and cancer causing exposures.
With that in mind, come out to Wolverine Field at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, and watch the varsity football team take on the Rawlins Outlaws. Wind River Oncology and Riverton Memorial Hospital are partnering with RHS Activities, Help for Health, the Tough Enough Cancer Fund, and Pepsi as we celebrate those who are tough enough to be Wolverines. Wind River Oncology and Help for Health will be raising awareness about early detection and local treatment options. Pepsi will be supplying free Cherry 7-Up to anyone wearing pink as they support the mighty Wolverines (also in their pink jerseys and metallic pompoms). It will be a true celebration of those who we've lost to cancer and those who are still fighting.
Other Tough Enough activities are planned throughout the year. I am urging all of you to continue working hard to make Riverton the best place to raise a family, no matter how bitter the wind is.
Editor's note: Jeremy Hill is the activities director at Riverton High School
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