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Ronda Graff

Community Connections

News and views from the McCook Community Foundation Fund

Opinion

Proud to call Greater Nebraska home

Friday, November 25, 2022
Those with a connection to McCook, including the McCook Community Foundation Fund, pose for a picture during the annual Nebraska Community Foundation banquet near Omaha last week.
Courtesy photo

Last year at this time, McCook and the McCook Community Foundation Fund was still basking in the glow of Night on the Bricks. In 2021 as part of the Nebraska Community Foundationís annual training and celebration, McCook hosted Night on the Bricks as a replacement for the traditional sit-down banquet.

Night on the Bricks was a resounding success, among both those visiting for the event from across the state as well as residents from McCook and Southwest Nebraska.

For those who didnít attend the event, Night on the Bricks primary purpose was to highlight all the great things going on in McCook as well as southwest Nebraska. After attending many conferences and events in the places in nondescript hotels and conference centers that could be located anywhere, Night on the Bricks organizers wanted visitors to know they were in McCook and Southwest Nebraska.

And the full experience was delivered.

There were bierocs from Sehnertís Bakery, potato bologna from Bertrand, and farm-raised shrimp from Stratton to name just a few items available along Norris Avenue. Artwork was on display in storefronts up and down the street, highlighting all the creativity we have available on a regular basis. And nearly every business decorated early for Christmas to bring that old-fashioned, small-town feeling to the event with lights twinkling in the cold fall air.

In fact, the event was such a success that it is still talked about a year later. Last week at the 2022 NCF event, held in LaVista near Omaha, people from across the state were still making comments about how much they enjoyed Night on the Bricks.

What made Night on the Bricks so appealing? For starters, food and drinks will make any event better. But the evening was also an opportunity to showcase all the good things that are happening in our own backyard, things that we may take for granted or that we may not even know exist. The event also allowed people to stroll up and down McCookís main street at a leisurely pace, something that is missing in our busy, hurried lives.

And Night on the Bricks was a chance to show how proud we are of what we have and what we are doing.

We have many great things going on to be proud of. There are artists making creative artwork on a regular basis. There are unique, local businesses that find a way to exist - and thrive - in this worldwide market. There are signature food items that call McCook and Southwest Nebraska home. Who had someone visiting this week for Thanksgiving who ďneededĒ onion rings from Macís Drive-In?

Night on the Bricks was one evening that reminded us that we have many great things going on in our communities. And yes, MCFF has been asked to do it again. But in the meantime, we need to take any chance we can to highlight and remember all that we do have to celebrate on a regular basis.

That is what MCFF plans to do

Along with more than 200 others from across Nebraska and the Midwest, several MCFF Advisory Committee members and McCook residents attended the 2022 NCF training and celebration and have returned inspired by what is going on in rural Nebraska or as it is sometimes called - Greater Nebraska.

Greater Nebraska can actually have two meanings. The first refers to all the communities which are not Omaha and Lincoln. Those two communities only cover a small portion of Nebraska, hence everything else is greater Nebraska.

But it can also mean the greater parts of Nebraska. We have many great things going on in our communities. The good old days donít have to be behind us. There are opportunities to make things happen, to see our population grow, to make it our communities even better places to call home.

We donít have to wait for a special event to recognize all the good things around us or to get things done. Instead, letís be thankful for what we do have, learn how to say yes to opportunities, and celebrate every day what we have in place. Letís be proud to say we are from Greater Nebraska.

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