Mark ‘Meadowlark’ Mickelson honored

Joy Ufford photo ‘Meadowlark’ award winner Mark Mickelson, right, of Big Piney, shares his experiences of volunteering for nonprofits.

SUBLETTE COUNTY – The Wyoming Community Foundation’s get-together to celebrate Mark Mickelson’s many years of volunteerism and philanthropy was reminiscent of an old episode of “This Is Your Life” – only Mickelson knew ahead of time he was the honoree.

Thursday evening, June 1, people from across the state and beyond responded to the Wyoming Community Foundation (WCF) Sublette Area Local Board’s invitation to honor Mickelson with the 2023 Spirit of the Meadowlark Award.

From the Shriners Children’s Hospital to Mason’s Grand Lodge of Wyoming, the SAFV Task Force and the Children’s Learning Center – as well as the local board and WCF leaders – Mickelson has helped guide many nonprofits to success.

The Sublette Area Local Board created the “Spirit of the Meadowlark Award” for several reasons, according to chair Midi Crabb.

“The meadowlark arrives with the hesitant Wyoming spring and is the first bird to start the work of building avian communities,” she explained.

Meadowlarks sing even in flight – “much like those individuals that willingly give their time, expertise and financial support in an effort to strengthen their community.”

The award is to ensure recognition for those who give so completely so their quiet deeds are not overlooked, she explained.

Thursday, speakers at the Sublette County Event Center fondly related how Mickelson’s career in finance and banking and personal generosity have helped nonprofits and the broad range of people they assist, while Mickelson shared how much he admired other volunteers and donors for their good works.

As Mickelson and family moved around the state in his banking career, he often found himself volunteering – or being volunteered – to serve as treasurer on numerous nonprofit boards.

For example, Mickelson spent many years participating in the longtime Jackson Hole Cutter Races to benefit the Shriners’ cause.

He helped create a booster club and Little League team in Kemmerer

One great experience came when the Kemmerer Family Foundation was going to close out the account. Mickelson suggested it could donate to a new WCF “drawer” for local nonprofits’ grants.

Besides these above efforts and being on WCF’s state and Sublette local boards, Mickelson volunteered time to the SAFV Task Force, Children’s Learning Center, three counties’ Masonic lodges, Rendezvous Pointe and Wyoming Chapter of the American Cancer Society.

After Mickelson heard his praises sung, he stood and turned the tables for all of the people who came or wrote to honor him that evening. Wherever his work took him, someone would come to ask for his help and time.

Those he met in the process also do “amazing work” to better other people’s lives and their communities, he said.

“The vast majority of people want to help each other,” Mickelson said. “I am moved to help when I can; it’s simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”

Video News