Leadership tea

Alexandra Wilkins (from left), Abigail Reinker, Brittan Bower and Grayce Baustert were honored with scholarships during the 14th annual Leadership Tea at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West last month. 

The Park County Republican Women held their 14th annual Leadership Tea honoring Barb Poley and graduating high school girls from Park County on April 18 at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. The event was cancelled last year due to Covid-19. 

Organizers thanked Buffalo Bill Center of the West event coordinator Josie Hedderman and the three high schools in Park County for supporting the Leadership Tea for these 2021 graduates.

The event has a dual purpose of recognizing a past or current outstanding member, while at the same time honoring, supporting and encouraging the graduating high school girls of Park County.   This year the Leadership Tea was attended by 96 participants, which included students from Meeteetse, their guidance counselor, Becky Thomas, Powell students, Cody students, their guidance counselor, Kris Hufty and Karen Day, the Poley family, PCRW members, and key note speaker, Ashlee Lundvall.

Teagan Thompson, 2020 graduate from Cody High School, spoke on receiving the PCRW $1000 scholarship last year. She wanted to thank the Park County Republican Women and express how much it meant to her. 

She told the class of 2021 and the attendees her plans and where she is attending college. She shared a message of gratitude for being invited to this year’s Leadership Tea. 

Anne (Coe) Hayes presented the $1,000 Peg Coe Memorial Scholarship in memory of her mother, Peg Coe, to Abigail Reinker, a Cody graduate.  She has been taking spring classes from Northwest Community College to be a nurse and will continue her studies in the fall at Laramie County College with her major in nursing. Abigail is the daughter of Jaime and Mike Reinker.  

Joyce Boyer, close personal friend to the Shreve Family, presented the $1,000 Peg Shreve Memorial Scholarship for Don and Sheri Shreve and their families, in memory of their mother, Peg Shreve, to Brittan Bower, a CHS senior. She will be studying Health Sciences at the University of Wyoming in the fall. Brittan is the daughter of Lisa and Lance Bower.  

H.R. Coe, presented the PCRW $1000 scholarship in honor of his dad, Sen. Hank Coe, who passed away earlier this year, to Alexandra Wilkins, a Cody senior. She will be studying law at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., in the fall. Alexandra is the daughter of Jason Wilkins and Crystal Snyder. 

Fran Swope, Leadership Tea Chair, presented  the second PCRW $1,000 scholarship to Grayce Baustert, a Cody senior.  Her major is psychology and plans to attend Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University in Phoenix in the fall. Grayce is the daughter of Kryshna and Chris Baustert.

These graduates were challenged to further their education and to be informed and involved in their communities wherever they live.

Their commitment to God, family, and country are important to carry on the beliefs of freedom and morality in our country.

Lundvall is a unique ambassador for outdoor sports. She earned the title of Ms. Wheelchair USA with her platform of making the outdoors accessible for everyone. She was and is today a lover of animals and a hunter. She is an inspirational speaker for all who attended because of her extraordinary abilities as an active woman in a wheelchair. Lundvall shared how she balances family and career.

Poley, this year’s Tea honoree, was born in Cody to Marla and Oral Strom. She grew up with two other siblings, older brother Jim and sister Jeanne. Barb was a drummer in CHS Band and a baton twirler in high school.  She was also on the track team and member of Broncettes.

Barb graduated with honors from Cody High School and received her college degree from Northwest College.

Barb met her husband Ken, of 39 years, in Cody.  They have two sons, Brady – wife Misha, their sons, Ryder, Killian and daughter Thea Grace; and Chad – wife Sarah, their son Nixon, daughter Tymber, with another child due in September of this year. 

Poley started as a teller at one of the local banks in Cody after college.

She continued her banking career for 32 years. Poley was a teller, head bookkeeper, personal banker, loan officer VP, and bank manager.

One of the highlights of her career was building long term customer relationships with her customers. She was approached to run as the Park County Treasurer in 2010 because the former treasurer was retiring. She was sworn in as Park County Treasurer in Jan. 2010 and has been in office since.

Between working, being a parent and grandparent, Poley has been active in the community and the state and is involved as:

• Park County Republican Women and current club President.

• Soroptimist Club of Cody.

• Wyoming State Treasurer’s Association as past President.

• Currently she is on the State Board for Wyoming Association of County Officials.

• Graduate of Park County Leadership, treasurer for several years.

• Ambassadors of Cody and president 2010.

• Member of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer and Ducks Unlimited and Archery Club.                  

• Sunday school teacher at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cody.  

Poley enjoys crafting, reading, especially murder mysteries, and on a bowling league for 10 years in her spare time. She is proud of bowling high in the 290s.

Poley has developed strong friendships and mentors through the years, which she cherishes dearly. One special friend, Stephanie Stockhill, became her walking partner of 37 years since they first met at Poley’s first job as a bank teller. 

Poley provides an inspiring example for every young woman to set goals towards their dreams with a good education and becoming involved in their communities. 

She is very proud to be a part of Park County Republican Women because of the support, strong family values, community involvement, and the advancement of women, as well as the scholarships they give each year.  

Each student received a congratulatory gift from Park County Republican Women and, more importantly, each received the well wishes, encouragement, and congratulations from Poley and Swope.  

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