The Louisa Swain award recognizes those who, through their actions or accomplishments, display the qualities of courage, community and character exhibited by Louisa Swain as she cast her historic ballot.
Recipients of The Louisa Swain Award
Jane Metzler Sullivan
Lynne Vincent Cheney
Diana Buckley Enzi
Margaret McClammy Parry
Parry Wins 2014 Louisa Swain Foundation Award
Activist recognized for character, courage and community work
Paul Murray, Rocket-Miner Staff Reporter
ROCK SPRINGS--Cowboys Against Cancer founder and cancer survivor Margaret parry of Rock Springs was the recipient on Saturday evening of the 2014 Louisa Swain Foundation award for "Character, Courage and Community." as exemplified by Louisa Swain, the first woman ever to cast a ballot in a democratic election.
In accepting the ward, parry, a breast cancer survivor, gave full credit to the volunteers who have worked with her as part of the Cowboys Against Cancer organization.
"Any of you could be standing here for the things you have done," Parry said.
She also credited her parents for teaching her community responsibility.
"Cowboys Against Cancer is people helping people they will never meet," she said. "You want to leave the world a better place than when you arrived...I hope that's what I've been able to do with Cowboys Against Cancer."
U.S. Rep. Cynthia Lummis praised Parry's work.
"Without Margaret Parry, Cowboys Against Cancer would not exist ... countless members of the community have benefitted from Cowboys Against Cancer funds ... It shows the power of one person in a community."
Bobbi Barrasso, wife of U.S. Sen. John Barrasso, said Louisa Swain not only was the first woman in Wyoming to vote in an election and not only the first woman in the United States to vote in an election. She is the first woman anywhere on earth, in any country, to vote in a democratic election, she said.
More than 100 gathered to honor Jane Sullivan at The Petroleum Club in Casper, Wyoming on May 8, 2010. The Former First Lady of Wyoming was honored by friends and neighbors for her qualities of courage, community and character.
Sullivan Received First Louisa Swain Award
By: Sally Ann Shurmur
Star-Tribune Staff Writer
(Casper Star Tribune, 5/11/2010)
They were a community representing justice, federal and state politics, education and religion.
And all were friends--from church, the neighborhood, and from a life lived mostly in Wyoming nurturing preschoolers, planting gardens and improving the places in which we live.
And they were there, more than 100 of them, to honor Jane Sullivan with the first Louisa Swain Award on Saturday night at the Casper Petroleum Club.
There were United States senators and judges; a former governor and a current governor; one community college president, two priests and a deacon.
First lady Nancy Freudenthal said when Jane Sullivan as first lady, she gave wonderful advice.
"She left me with a deep understand of the role of first lady...every day you wake up, you're one day closer to being a former first lady", Freudenthal laughed.
Diana Enzi, wife of U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, said Jane Sullivan has been her role model as a political spouse.
But, more importantly, she has been the "back-door neighbor" Enzi is always telling acquaintances in Washington about.
"She is a great example of a Wyoming woman. She is there for a good chat, a long cry, to get a little help or a cup of sugar. She is a great back-door neighbor", Enzi said.
The Louisa Swain Foundation preserves and celebrates the heritage and history of the world's first democratically cast electoral ballot by a woman, Louisa Swain, on Sept. 6, 1870, in Laramie.
The award recognizes those who, through their actions or accomplishments, display the qualities of courage, community and character exhibited by Louisa Swain as she cast her historic ballot.
Three friends of Sullivan's spoke on those three characteristics.
Judge William Downes, chief judge, U.S. District Court, spoke about Sullivan's courage.
"While we regularly celebrate courage summoned in a moment of peril, Jane Metzler Sullivan is an indomitable soul," Downes said. "She possesses the purest kind of courage. With honesty and prayerful spirit, she was content to devote her energies to her family, friends and community. Then, with Rosary beads in her purse, she stepped into public life and we are better for it."
Sullivan's husband, Mike, was governor of Wyoming from 1986 to 1994 and served as U.S. ambassador to Ireland from 1998 to 2001.
Before and after those two endeavors, the Sullivans have made Casper their home, where they raised three children and are grandparents of seven.
Maggi Murdock, associate vice-president for academic affairs of the University of Wyoming and dean of its outreach school, spoke about Sullivan as she relates to the community.
"While Louisa Swain walked alone to cast her ballot, those who know Jane would know she would have led a procession of voters, both men and women, because it was the right thing to do. The act of voting reflects faith in and support for community," Murdock said. "It's one way of taking responsibility for the people and places in which we live."
Murdock said Sullivan "has the power and ability to be a leader and get people to follow. The human contribution is an essential ingredient to community."
The Rev. Carl Beavers of Holy Spirit Catholic Community in Rock Springs was raised in Powell, as was Jane Metzler Sullivan. He described the water project that formed the town of Powell just a century ago, and how it formed the character of its residents, including Sullivan, in the process.
"Always, character and humility are inseparably linked," he said. "All of us matter, all of us belong, all we have to live on is character. We always win when we stay in character."
Sullivan was presented a handsome bronze of Swain as her award.
In her acceptance remarks, she said, "I have met a lot of women in Wyoming I suspect Louisa Swain would be proud of."
She talked of Wyoming's "spirit of connectiveness," she said is a result of "small numbers, small towns, one university, community colleges and civilized politics. Our communities give us the opportunity to make our lives meaningful."
She said she thinks balance in community is very fragile and needs to be nurtured.
"The challenge of this seems more important that we maintain the values of livable communities, because we can clearly see what happens when we're not connecting with our neighbors. We should step softly, because we're stepping on our dreams," she said.
"You can imagine what Louisa Swain must have gone through on her way to the voting place, people cursing at her, throwing tomatoes at her, whatever, but she cast her ballot," Barrasso said. "She laid the groundwork for women's suffrage and equal rights." The date of Swain's first ballot cast was September 6, 1870.
The Louisa Swain Foundation is a nation-wide 501(c)3 organization, said Barrasso, who also serves on the organization's board of directors.
Sen. Barrasso said former Wyoming senatorial candidate Liz Cheney would have made the awards dinner had she not been in ill health and unable to attend.
He read Cheney's written remark: "She has turned her adversity into a cause to help others," Cheney said of Parry. "Character is more than talk. Action is the real indicator."
Jane Sullivan, recipient of the 1st Louisa Swain Award.
Ray Hunkins, Chair of The Louisa Swain Foundation, presents Jane Sullivan with her Bronze of Louisa Swain
Weldon Tuck, Executive Director of The Louisa Swain Foundation, was the Master of Ceremonies for the event
Diana Enzi, Board Member of The Louisa Swain Foundation, presents a toast at the event.
Senator Barrasso and Governor Freudenthal
1st Lady of Wyoming, Nancy Freudenthal, presents a toast at the event.
Photography by Bruce Nichols, Casper, WY.
(Re-posted with permission, all rights reserved.)