Heritage Days honorees keep community great

Thursday, September 21, 2006

It takes all kinds of people, quietly, carefully, effectively doing their jobs, to make a community work.

This year's Heritage Days honorees are a good example of the quality citizens with which McCook has been blessed over the years.

While they're not the traditional "butcher, baker and candlestick maker," the legal, banking and retail industries can be proud of this year's grand marshal, parade marshal and honor family.

Plus, there should be optimism for the future, judging from the slate of young ladies nominated and named for Heritage Days royalty.

Grand marshal John Battershell, who retired as 11th Judicial District Judge in November, meted out fair, no-nonsense justice for 14 years on the bench.

Born in North Platte and a Navy submarine veteran, he graduated from the University of Nebraska law school in 1973 before beginning to practice law in McCook.

"The contributions he has made to his community and to the State of Nebraska were done so in a manner that never sought accolades or any type of recognition," according to the nomination.

Parade marshal Linda Taylor has a long list of accomplishments and community service including McCook Area Chamber of Commerce offices and Cordials, Christian Women's Club, church, 4-H, City Council and mayor, and McCook Economic Development board.

Lately, she's been involved with the "Nebraska on the Move Transportation Committee," and is working with Sen. Ben Nelson toward the day when a "Snowbird Trail" can cross the state diagonally from northeast to southwest.

A long-time businesswoman, she started with a family-operated carpet service in 1965 and opened what is now VK Electronics in 1982.

2006 Honor Family Ken and Marlene Foster have been involved in numerous civic activities such as the McCook chamber, South Platte United Chambers of Commerce, Community Hospital, Mid-Plains Community College, McCook College Foundation, ESU 15 and the Elks Lodge for Ken; and Marlene has been very active on boards such as the YMCA, United Way, 4-H, the Helping Hand thrift shop, Community Concert Association, Hospice, PEO and Heritage Days committee.

Ken is a Stratton High School graduate who attended colleges in McCook, Hastings and Wyoming, and he taught and coached in McCook before working at First National Bank for more than 30 years. Marlene was a McCook High School cheerleader and worked at the telephone office, Avco Financial and Whitaker Furniture.

Heritage Days Queen Ashlee Huffman, daughter of James and Kif Huffman, has lettered in track and basketball and won two state track medals. She's a National Honor Society member, merit roll student and a member of CYO and St. Patrick's food booth volunteer. She's also in Science Club, chorus and keeps statistics for the girls basketball team.

Ashlee hopes to enter the medical field, and judging from her accomplishments so far, she will help McCook continue to be a community that can be proud of its residents.

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