Jim Hearne, a retired certified public accountant, has spent many years and hundreds of hours on a variety of causes in Cheyenne, both through service-oriented clubs and others focused on economic development.
He has participated in organizations including Cheyenne Frontier Days, the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce, the Cheyenne Rotary Club and the Cheyenne Lions Club.
It came as no surprise to those in attendance at the Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum that Hearne would be honored for service. Nonetheless, Hearne said he was “overwhelmed” by all the support.
“I’m just overwhelmed with all the people who came to see me,” he said with a smile.
In his speech, Hearne highlighted the role of Cheyenne Frontier Days in teaching him about volunteerism and community spirit.
“It’s the first place where I saw people from all walks of life serving side by side,” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing what a team can accomplish when it has total focus and dedication to producing a first-class Western celebration to benefit our community.”
While working at his accounting firm, McGee, Hearne and Paiz, Hearne said he always encouraged employees to volunteer – not because they were told to, but because they were passionate about a cause and wanted to improve the community.
“One of (the firm’s) core values was community stewardship,” he said. “I always encouraged staff to be involved, but cautioned them that volunteering to fulfill someone’s request was not the way to go.”
He attributed much of his success to his wife, Peggy, and his business partners, family, friends and the community.
“I believe that the community spirit is alive and well in Cheyenne, Wyoming, but we all need to continue to encourage involvement in community activities,” he said.
Hearne’s speech was preceded by his accounting firm partners, Michl McGee and Joseph Paiz. Both men lauded Hearne’s commitment to service and dedication to his work.
“Jim is clearly richly deserving of the award,” Paiz said. “Jim … does what he does because it is who he is, and he does it for all the right reasons – regardless of the credit.”
McGee remembered meeting Hearne when he moved to Cheyenne. He recounted years of work and Hearne’s contributions to the business.
“It was a hell of a ride for the three of us,” McGee said.
In the audience, family and longtime friends of Hearne celebrated his accomplishments.
Hearne’s sister, Cheryl Bath, and her husband, Vince Bath, traveled from Laramie for the ceremony.
Vince Bath marveled at how Hearne was able to help run the family cattle ranch, work at his accounting firm and volunteer at the same time.
“I don’t know how he gets all his energy,” he said. “But he loves to help.”
Other past recipients of the award were also in attendance.
Bill Dubois, who was honored with the Community Spirit Award in 1999, said Hearne was completely deserving of the honor.
“Jim is a wonderful man,” Dubois said. “He’s worked very hard, and he’s a wonderful public servant.”