But it needed to be done quickly, so I figured I would start at the top of the food chain and work my way down. I picked up the phone and made a call to a Make-A-Wish Colorado Board Member who happens to work for an oil and gas company. Turns out, we had thirteen wishes to grant in what Denver affectionately calls the “D-J Basin.” It’s oil and gas slang for the Denver-Julesburg Basin and it is rich in natural resources. One of them that is plentiful: oil.
A casual ask of our Board Member at Great Western Oil & Gas soon turned into an executive meeting brainstorm with a whole bunch of people with “Vice President” in their title. The solution to granting wishes quickly seemed simple in that boardroom: each division would reach out to their respective colleagues and ask them to join Great Western Oil & Gas in supporting Wish Kids in the heart of the DJ Basin, Adams and Weld counties. Great Western President and CEO Rich Frommer took it one step further. The company would match employee giving AND seed the first three wishes with $2,500 each. That was either a $10,000 or $17,500 proposition for Great Western Oil & Gas. Except that employee giving exploded (one wish granted), Great Western matched it (another wish granted) AND still seeded three other wishes for a total of $22,500. We were off and running.
Actually, from that point on, it became a sprint. What was meant to be an introductory email turned into companies clamoring to give. Most wanted to sponsor entire wishes. Most wanted to sponsor high cost wishes. Their only request was that they be able to share the story of a child with their employees so they knew that every day when they went to work in the D-J Basin, they were working in the very same community where that child lived. The first three companies to join those seed money wishes actually wanted to fund the whole thing: Baker Hughes (another wish!), Precision Drilling (another!), and Catamount Oilfield Services. For those keeping track that is 5. Next came two high cost wishes supported by Halliburton and Liberty Oilfield Services (6!7!). One left in Adams County. Remember that Make-A-Wish Board Member who set this in motion? He picked up the phone and made a phone call and a small company by oil and gas standards, M&M Excavation Co granted LaShawn’s wish for a cruise: that’s 8!
With five wishes left to grant, another Great Western employee offered to reach out to his people in Weld County. It took five minutes for the first of his colleagues, Water Way Solutions, to respond and adopt Aaron’s wish to go to Australia: 9. It seemed this was going to be too easy. JACAM and IES Combustors quickly followed for numbers ten and eleven. And then there were two. Remember, back at the beginning, I said Together. Together, we create life changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. SO those last two wishes became a little bit of a community effort with three companies essentially pooling their money to grant the wishes of Carter and Carlos. Twelve. Thirteen.
Sometimes it seems the oil and gas industry gets a bad rap here in Colorado. I can tell you, I have never worked with a more compassionate, giving and engaged group of people in my years of fundraising. This campaign of giving was important to them. The kids are important, where they live is important, and what they wish for is important. So this is my way of saying to the remarkable people who make up the oil and gas industry in Colorado, and especially the D-J Basin: thank you. You have left an indelible mark on the community in which you work and I know thirteen Wish Kids and their families who will have lifelong memories of their child realizing their one true wish. Because of you.
Stacie Winslow, Community Development