ST. EDWARD — Nebraska Community Foundation is pleased to support this series and introduce readers to people in Northeast and North-Central Nebraska who are “Loving Where They Live.”
This series will be published every other Wednesday through December. Today, meet Virginia Whidden, who retired in 2016 after 38 years of teaching family and consumer sciences. She and her husband, Francis, who farms near St. Edward, have three grown children and five grandsons.
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How long have you lived in the area? I have lived near St. Edward since marrying my husband 43 years ago.
What do love most about your community? St. Edward is a small community with big ideas! Over the decades that I taught at the local high school, I was fortunate to work with the youth of this community through the FCCLA (Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America) chapter. Their pride in this community was so evident with many, many community service projects. This community, like so many others in Nebraska, is filled with youths and adults who genuinely want to make a positive difference.
Is there something special about St. Edward that is surprising, or that makes it unique? St. Edward has the distinction of being the only town in the world with the name of St. Edward.
If you could change something about your hometown, what would that be? If I could change something about my hometown, it would be to have more of our young people return to our community. We do an excellent job of educating our kids to be responsible and successful adults. I would love to have more of them return home to start small businesses and raise their families.
How would you describe your community to a pen pal in another country? St. Edward is located in the heart of the Beaver Valley. The highway that bisects our town is lined with trees, well-kept homes and manicured lawns. People are friendly and businesses here give personalized customer service that you don't find in larger communities.
What makes you most proud of your community? Like many other Nebraska communities, St. Edward was devastated by the flooding in March. It was heart-warming to see the community pull together to respond to the needs of those whose homes and businesses were inundated by the flood waters. The people in this small town really do care for each other and for their community.
What are your dreams for your hometown? My dream for St. Edward is that it continues to be the same kind of caring place where I raised my family and, as a teacher, watched so many young people grow up to adulthood. The care and concern that people have for each other in small towns is really special.
What is your relationship to your local affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation? I am a member of the Boone County Foundation Fund representing St. Edward. The generosity and concern of so many here in Boone County shows through the funding of worthwhile projects with grants, the Big Give and contributions to special projects like our proposed St. Edward Community Center.