CASPER, Wyo. – Speeches by Sen. John Barrasso, Governor Mark Gordon and conservative commentator Lt. Col. Oliver North brought plenty of applause on Wednesday morning, but it’s a painting that brought on the tears.
Longtime Boys & Girls Club of Wyoming Chief Executive Officer Ashley Bright was overcome with emotion as he was surprised with a painting by local artist Zach Pullen during the 21st annual awards breakfast.
The painting depicts a joyous Bright mid-air, a pose he’s often struck in newspaper photos publicizing past Boys & Girls Club fundraisers.
Retired Lt. Col Oliver North gave the keynote address. North, a highly decorated Marine, became publicly known with his involvement in the Iran-Contra scandal during President Reagan’s second term.
North later became known for his conservative commentary on Fox News, best-selling books and briefly as president of the National Rifle Association.
North talked fondly of military youth centers that are operated by the Boys & Girls Club of America, which offer support to children of military parents who must often move.
“Ripping kids out of the second grade and putting the back in another school in the third grade, it’s tough on those kids,” said North, “and is my thanks to what Boys and Girls Clubs originated back in the 1940s.”
The annual event raises money to help the Boys & Girls Club of Wyoming operate and expand. Money for a new computer center building for children was the primary focus on Wednesday.