2022 Jefferson Award Finalist Profile: Dean Welch

Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 6:30 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - Dean Welch has been serving military veterans in Casper and Wyoming for almost 20 years. Dean began his volunteer work almost immediately after returning home from serving in Kuwait with the National guard in 2005. Mr. Welch started his volunteer work with Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) but since that time he has donated hundreds of hours to other organizations as well.

Dean has worked with Reach 4 A Star Riding academy, Brain Injury Advocates of Wyoming, The American Legion, and ServeWyoming. Dean has been actively working with ServeWyoming for over 10 years and serves as the commissions voice for military veterans.

Shelly McAlpin, who nominated Dean and works for ServeWyoming, said this about Mr. Welch, “He has reviewed grants for us, he’s been at events for us. We have several mural projects across town here and he’s been at every single one of them. He’s putting in the man power, he’s helping with marketing for these events and you’ll always see him out there helping.”

While working with the American Legion, Dean has been able to continue helping veterans in an even more direct way.

“We take on different projects, building wheelchair ramps for veterans, you know, helping them out. We’ve got electric wheelchairs that we loan out to vets if they need them. If we can help them, they can’t pay their rent or they’re having troubles trying to find a job, we’re there,” said Dean.

Dean has continued to be a voice for military veterans who need help in the community but he is also currently working on a way to remember servicemen who have fallen in the line of duty. Dean is an integral part in the building of a new veteran memorial near Fort Caspar in Patterson-Zonta park. The memorial will contain plaques with names of fallen Wyoming service men and women dating all the way back to the Spanish-American War.

Dean stated, “So there will be over 1,100 names on here which will include Riley McCollum on the last panel. He was our last fallen, so it’ll have every name and then there will be room to add others if, unfortunately, we have to add others.”

Dean expects this project to be completed by this coming fall, depending on the availability of materials. He is also planning on the project to cost around $30,000 with money coming from in-kind donations and fund raisers.

The American Legion will be helping in this project and all money donated will go directly to building costs. Dean said that any extra money donated will also stay in Natrona County and go to other projects.

To meet the other three finalists for the 2022 Jefferson Award you can click here, here, and here.

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