The Wyoming Association of Municipalities (WAM) awarded Mary Axthelm its Community  Hero Award on June 8, 2023, at its annual summer convention in Cody. Axthelm was nominated by the city of Riverton and was one of only three recipients to receive the award from nominations generated and received from across the state. 

“Mary represents the best of our community,” said Riverton City Administrator Kyle Butterfield. “She administers a successful recreation program, improves the lives of our youth, and volunteers her time to  support many worthwhile causes. All of this is commendable, but what makes Mary stand out is her insatiable positive attitude. She possesses the rare quality of brightening the outlook of everyone with whom she interacts. Mary doesn’t just get things done, she makes people feel better about themselves along the way, and that’s something we need more of these days.” 

WAM presents Community Hero Awards to people, groups, or organizations that have been involved in community enhancement projects, including beautification, historic preservation, downtown revitalization, community recreation programs, and events that benefit the entire community. It celebrates people who make their community stronger through the generous investment of their time, their financial resources, and their expertise.  

Axthelm is the program director for ‘R’ Recreation, which serves as the community’s recreation  department. She was instrumental in its creation in 2008 when she and others chose to fill a void left by the city when it moved away from recreation programs. Through ‘R’ Recreation, Axthelm strives to  strengthen the community and enrich the lives of Riverton residents both young and old by providing affordable and diverse recreational, physical, and cultural opportunities. 

(submitted photo)
Mary Azthelm stands with Riverton City Administrator, Kyle Butterfield.

In addition to her work with ‘R’ Recreation, Axthelm serves as a member of the board of directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Central Wyoming and has twice been appointed by the Riverton City Council to serve on the Evolve, Diversify, and Grow our Economy (EDGE) committee. She was  appointed by the Riverton City Council to serve on the Parks Committee to develop a community master plan for the parks and trails system in Riverton. Axthelm was also asked to participate on the steering  committee for the city’s Comprehensive Master Plan in 2019.