SHERIDAN — Going from a job that pays more than $70,000 per year to one that pays less than $1,000 per month takes commitment. If you aren’t all in, it won’t last. Mayor Quincy Dabney has put it all on the line in an effort to rejuvenate and restore his hometown, the community of Lodge Grass.
The 37-year-old won a write-in campaign for mayor in 2018, but even before that he took it upon himself to tackle at least one of the challenges facing the community just north of the Wyoming-Montana state line — trash.
He organized a community cleanup, recruiting friends and family to walk the streets of Lodge Grass in 2016 to pick up garbage.
Now, as mayor, he’s tackling bigger problems, primarily a systemic and inherited mindset that exists in his community and on the Crow Reservation as a whole.
First, he ensured every penny in the government coffers of Lodge Grass were accounted for, which hadn’t been done for some time.
He has received help from a number of individuals and organizations who don’t live in Lodge Grass, a symbol he hopes will permeate the town’s residents. If people who don’t live there care so much about the millions of acres Crow country inhabits — some of the most picturesque land in southern Montana —the Crow should, too, he thought.
Now, beyond trying to establish a trash removal system, he’s tackling issues like restarting a police department, housing needs and economic development.
The trek will require dedication and patience, along with things like money and buy-in from the community.
Part of what makes Dabney special, though, is that he doesn’t care where the help comes from, as long as it fits with his vision to restore Lodge Grass as a city of light and hope.
His own experience with illicit drugs, although short lived, has helped the young mayor communicate with and draw in members of the community who have fallen prey to addiction.
“The world throws so much stuff out at us,” Quincy said of his community and the people who live there. “It says we should look like this, or be like that. You can’t live up to it, so you’re trying to change yourself to be like what looks acceptable when you’re already acceptable.
“The world looks down on you, but yeah, you can still be a good person even if you’ve gotten into some bad things,” he continued. “That mindset has taken me pretty far networking and talking to people. You just have to look at people as people.”
As the cleanup has taken hold (the fourth annual one occurred in May), Dabney has created a coalition of people to help realize a vision for Lodge Grass. Family, friends and community members have joined with outside forces to set the wheels in motion on a number of projects. As Dabney continues reaching for those dreams, he’ll likely need to continue that coalition building, but as one man, he’s already achieved more than many young leaders in their communities.