It was 1998 at the Fremont Tribune when my love for story telling truly began.
Despite the fact that I predominately typed obituaries and became somewhat of a bereavement counselor, I loved every minute of it.
That was due to the amazing and hilarious people I worked with that included Brett Ellis, Tammy McKeighan and Brent Wasenieus, to name a few.
We all worked like crazy and we played like crazy. Whether it be hiring a singing clown, discussing the annual wild game feed or laughing hysterically about Julio Iglesias being seen at the local JC Penney’s, the humor we shared continues on through the countless stories that remain timeless.
I worked at the Tribune for a number of years and eventually sampled internet news while working for Jangle.com at Tek Industries in Fremont.
Several years later I worked as a Public Relations Specialist at the Nebraska Children’s Home in Omaha, a place that will always be near and dear to my heart because I worked within the same walls where I was placed for adoption decades before.
It would end up being a fork in my professional road so to speak.
Going back a bit, as an infant, in December of 1960 I was placed with a very large (Shada) family in Fremont and grew up thinking I was Lebanese. Although I love my Lebanese family, in my heart I knew I was Native American.
Shortly after starting my adoption journey, I met my (biological) brother and sister. Ironically, they were adopted and grew up in Beatrice where I spent a good majority of my high school years and didn’t even know they existed. I am certain our paths crossed without our knowledge and while we couldn’t go back to that time, it did add a certain excitement to our story.
We eventually met our birth mom but I could feel a divine pull towards working in social services helping others. It was a great fit for me as I advocated for our Native children and families involved in the court system due to abuse and/or neglect.
It was a healing adventure as I went on to work with fellow tribal members at the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska’s Social Service department. I worked in other positions during my professional time with my tribe that included public relations specialist and executive director of tribal affairs, not to mention the numerous boards I’ve served on which introduced me to the many tribal members I know and love today.
They are my second family. But story telling remained in my heart no matter where I was.
Whether it was freelancing for a Nebraska magazine, writing for the sports department at the Tribune or even producing a formal document for the Tribal elected officials, it never completely left me.
And now I’m back.
Back in a charming, small town setting, doing news again with another amazing group of colleagues and a warm community with many stories to tell.
Thank you Wahoo for being so lovely to me from the day I first set foot here. The rest is yet to be told.