Greg Dyekman smiles during a speech at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum where he was awarded the Wyoming Tribune Eagle's Community Spirit Award. Michael Smith/staff
Wyoming Tribune Eagle President and Publisher L. Michael McCraken admitted as much Thursday when he presented the Cheyenne attorney with the newspaper's 17th annual Community Spirit Award.
"I was utterly shocked about something Greg recently told me about his early years," McCraken said, standing before a crowd gathered at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum. "Greg claims that his mother described him as a 'halfway kid' because he wouldn't see things through and never made the effort to be really good at much of anything."
But that couldn't be further from the truth today, McCraken continued, adding that since he first joined Boy Scout Troop 101 as a teenager, Dyekman's life has been characterized by a consistent and passionate commitment to community service.
"He really is the embodiment of the type of volunteer we had in mind when we created the Community Spirit Award," McCraken said. "He's someone who is actively engaged in a wide variety of efforts which have had beneficial impacts on the community - a doer and a leader. He is also a longtime friend and business associate, and someone I personally admire."
Even as early as his first years in Boy Scouts, Dyekman began developing a desire to give back. McCraken said that by the time the two first met as teens, Dyekman was already well along his way to becoming an Eagle Scout.
He would continue his involvement in Scouting throughout his adulthood, helping to raise money to support the Boy Scouts of America and joining the Board of Trustees of the BSA's Longs Peak Council.
In 2002, Dyekman was a founding member of the University of Wyoming's College of Law Dean's Advisory Board, on which he still sits today. He also sits on UW's College of Arts and Sciences Board of Visitors and was the former chairman for the board.
Aside from Scouting and the university, Dyekman's involvement in community organizations stretches far and wide. He has been a huge supporter of the Cheyenne Symphony Orchestra; a campaign co-chairman for the United Way of Laramie County; a board member of the Meals on Wheels foundation, the Cheyenne Family YMCA and Cheyenne LEADS; and a fundraiser for the Davis Hospice Center, among others.
A 1977 graduate of UW, Dyekman earned his law degree in 1980 and is now a senior partner at Dray, Dyekman, Reed & Healey, P.C. There, he works in banking and commercial law, business and commercial litigation, bankruptcy, civil litigation, tax and estate planning, and property and employment law.
"As one might expect of someone as accomplished as Greg, he has received numerous awards from a long list of professional organizations," McCraken said. "And those of us who know Greg well are hard-pressed to remember him ever saying a bad word about anyone else or to complain about anything."
Pat Madigan, a longtime scoutmaster for Boy Scout Troop 101, described his own experience helping to shape Dyekman into the man he has become.
"It took a lot of time," Madigan joked before launching into Dyekman's many accomplishments while with Troop 101. A member of the East High School newspaper staff, Dyekman is the only member of Troop 101 to ever win the Gold Quill award, Scouting's highest medal of merit presented for outstanding journalism.
Madigan said Dyekman was also an accomplished public speaker, winning a $9,000 scholarship from Reader's Digest after competing in several speech events through the Boy Scouts. "Today, that would equate to about $51,000," Madigan said. "Not bad for a kid from Cheyenne."
Upon receiving the award, Dyekman said he couldn't have done what he did without the many opportunities he has been afforded by his parents, his employers and the many community members he has worked with.
"My parents were always very steady with me about responsibility," Dyekman said. "And once I got into Scouting and started participating in any number of service-related activities, they really appreciated that, and they really supported it and gave me a firm foundation in terms of my honesty and morality."
Dyekman said his exposure to community service at a young age taught him not only the value of such service, but just how integrated the concept is with the city of Cheyenne itself.
"This community is about personal and business generosity to good causes," he said. "This community is about a variety of activities that a lot of much larger communities are envious of. And it's because people here care about the other people in the community and they care about making their own organizations excellent."
While he was humbled to be included among the 16 other past winners of the Community Spirit Award, Dyekman said he believes there are thousands of other people in Cheyenne who are similarly deserving of the distinction. But he said that not to diminish the award's prestige, but to highlight just how dedicated the Capital City is to community service, he said.
Given his success story, Dyekman challenged everyone in the audience to go out and do the same to inspire the spirit of community service in those for whom it hasn't yet been kindled.
"I want you to do what Pat Madigan and Scouting did for me," Dyekman said. "I want you to take a person and show them how to serve - how to be a volunteer or a donor or a board member. That's what's going to continue the spirit of leadership and philanthropy and service in our community that's been such a great place."