TORRINGTON – After spending many years on different state boards and commissions, newly elected Councilman Wayne Deahl chose to serve the city of Torrington.
“I grew up in Torrington,” Deahl told the Telegram in an interview. “I was born and raised here, and my family’s been here for a long time. My Great Uncle Bill was one of the first commissioners for Goshen County when they broke the state down from seven counties into 23. My dad was the county clerk and city clerk.”
Deahl graduated from Torrington High School and then pursued higher education at the University of Wyoming (UW). At UW, he received a master’s degree in arts and English literature.
After graduating from UW, Deahl said he got a job at Eastern Wyoming College (EWC) as an instructor. He taught English communication, theater, journalism and philosophy at EWC for 22 years. Deahl also spent time working for the local radio station KGOS and KTWO in Casper.
In his younger years, Deahl was a member of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (JC). The JCs are an organization made up of men and women between the ages of 18 and 35 who are focused on making a positive impact in their communities. When Deahl was originally a member, this group was only for men.
Deahl said the JC creed was, “We believe that service to humanity is the best work of life that the brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations, and the best work of life is service to humanity.”
Deahl’s late wife Cathy was a counselor at Torrington Middle School. Together they have a son and daughter, Mike and Jessica.
Mike is now a math professor in Riverton with a wife and two daughters. Jessica is a graphic artist in Austin, Texas.
Serving as Councilman
In an interview, Deahl was asked what led him to the decision to serve the city, he said, “I’ve always believed in community service, it’s very important to me. (Over the years), I have been appointed by three different governors, Freudenthal, Mead and Mark Gordon to state boards and commissions.”
Deahl said he served on the state humanities council for five years, the WCDA board, which is the state housing board, for eight years and the state parks and cultural resources commission for the last 10 years. His term on the state parks and cultural resources commission expires on Mar. 1.
“Since I’m about done with that, I’ve had several friends who have suggested that I consider city council,” Deahl explained. “The former Mayor Randy Adams had suggested it as well. So, I decided, that instead of state work, I would look for something local to do to provide some service to my community if I can.”
Deahl was asked what in his opinion is the key to professional success, he said, “I think people skills are very important. I try to listen to people to be sympathetic to people’s viewpoints. I know that all politics are local, and everything comes down to what does it mean to me as an individual. The greatest good for the greatest number is probably my ethical philosophy.”
Plans for the Future
“I don’t have any specific plans, however, I do have some things that are important to me, like our economic development,” Deahl told the Telegram. “We’re becoming an older community. When I went to school here, we were 4A, it was AA at the time. They had enough students that we were at the very top, but now Torrington plays 2A football because there are so few students. That bothers me because that’s not an indicator of a community which is growing and forward-looking.”
Deahl explained that while the educational opportunity Torrington has is important, it does not have much for recreational activities. There are very few recreational opportunities for children and families.
“When my kids were growing up, we had a skating rink and a bowling alley,” Deahl recalled. “We had things for children to do but those things are now gone. The climate has changed since then, but they would flood the tennis courts in Torrington, and we would ice skate in the wintertime.”
The only recreational opportunities like these around are in different towns, such as Scottsbluff and Cheyenne. If the local families could enjoy these types of opportunities in Torrington, that would mean these funds could stay in the community.
“We have to find a way to bring in the younger families,” Deahl said. “That’s how our community grows. But sadly, we have not as a community done anything to help ourselves and the kids we have here. So, that’s something I’m interested in, and I’ve served on state boards, so I know there are lots of grants available (for those types of projects).”
Moving forward, Deahl said he will handle challenges when they come his way without any preconceived notions.
“I taught philosophy and I believe in the Socratic method,” Deahl explained. “A part of the Socrates’ belief was that the unexamined life is not worth living, and furthermore, the simple is always more complex than it seems.”
He plans to face things with an open mind, listen to all sides and do his best to predict any future consequences.
“(The most rewarding part of serving the city will be) if we as a city council can achieve some of the things I have talked about,” Deahl said. “If we can provide those kinds of things for people here and if we can provide economic development and provide more services to our people (we will help our city grow).”
Comments to Others
“I would like to say a big thank you to those who gave me their nod of affirmation,” Deahl said. “I hope I can live up to what they’ve asked me to do.”