How a mere 60 seconds can change hundreds of lives
Appeal Staff Writer
Not many people know her real name. But if you mention what she’s done for the community, her alias instantly comes to mind – “Mustang Sallie,” because of her advocacy for wild horses.
Randy Wright’s most successful fundraiser was when she began the Northern Nevada Small Miracles Foundation. Through her efforts and those of countless volunteers, the organization has provided 298 headstones for the graves of Nevada infants whose families could not afford one.
“I’d say 60 percent of the headstones are at Lone Mountain Cemetery,” Wright said. “Dave Stultz and FitzHenry’s Funeral Home were the best people to work with. I can’t say enough good about them.”
The area in Lone Mountain Cemetery is known as “Babyland.” The money raised also provided trees, benches and curbing.
“The headstones became a five-year project,” Wright said.
Wright said every year for her birthday, on Dec. 2, she picks a project for which to raise funds. She won the Jefferson Award for her accomplishments.
“I am blessed by friends who believe in what I do, knowing there are differences that can be made in the community – and give me their money.”
Wright has a motto she lives by: “Giving 60 seconds of your time can make the greatest of differences. I have been blessed along my path. It’s that 60-seconds thing.”
Wright’s life has not been without trials of its own. In February 2005, she lost her son Sean to brain cancer at the age of 34. Seven days later, her best friend, Tracy, died of brain cancer. She has nine children, seven grandchildren, five sisters and three brothers.
Wright came to Carson City from Hayward, Calif., after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.
“I still look for exit signs when I walk into a building,” she said. “Every window in my home shattered during the quake.”
When Wright felt she needed a break, she accepted a friend’s offer to operate an RV park in Libby, Mont.
“I needed time away so I went. My friend Jeff Forester bought the RV park and asked me to run it. So I did for three months.
“Then I came back to Carson City, and friends convinced me to stay. I really wanted to go back (to Libby).”
The friends who convinced her to stay told her to talk to Jen Fox, owner of Decades Bar, about running the grill inside the bar.
“We talked, and Miss Fox asked me to run her kitchen, make this happen. So on Oct. 20, I opened ‘Mustang Sallie’s Deuces Grill.’
“I wish I would have met and been her partner 20 years ago. We’d be lighting our cigarettes with $100 bills.”
Prior to opening Deuces, Wright ran the grill at the Deer Run Road Bar. At the grill, Wright gets to visit with many friends she’s made over the years as a bartender.
“I would like to see more of my old patrons come in to the grill. There are a lot I haven’t seen in years.”
She smiles when she says, “What this bartender hears here, stays here.”
She serves the same half-pound burger, same biscuits and gravy and same homemade soups, chili and salads as she did at the Deer Run Road Bar.
Wright said she is always open to suggestions for fundraisers, but it must be for a nonprofit. She enjoys helping Carson Advocates for Cancer Victims and the Meals on Wheels program at the Carson City Senior Citizens Center.
“I’d like to do a penny drive for Meals on Wheels,” she said. “Either drop your pennies off at the senior center or here at the grill.
“I’d like to think that what my friends and I have done in Carson City has made a difference. And I still have a passion for the wild horses. I wish people would just leave them alone, enjoy them from a distance.”
If you go
WHAT: Mustang Sallie’s Deuces Grill
WHERE: Decades Bar, 1475 Old Hot Springs Road
WHEN: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. -1 p.m. Saturday,
• Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.