Atkinson NCF

Nicky Cadwallader of Atkinson is shown with her husband, Clay, and their children: Makinley, 13; Jaxson, 16; and Ansley, 11.

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.”

For today’s final installment in the series, we traveled to Atkinson to meet Nicky Cadwallader, a loan officer with The Tri-County Bank. Nicky and her husband, Clay, have three kids: Jaxon, a junior in high school; Makinley, an eighth grader; and Ansley, in fifth grade.

How long have you lived in Atkinson?

My husband and I were both born and raised in Atkinson. I attended college at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and we lived in Kearney for 12 years. In May 2010, we moved back to Atkinson.

What do love most about your community?

I love that our community is continuing to thrive and grow. It is great that people are moving back here to raise their families. Not only do we have numerous people who came back after being away, but we also have many families that have chosen Atkinson as their hometown because of what it has to offer.

Is there something special about Atkinson that is surprising or that makes it unique?

We have a little bit of everything. It is always surprising to me when a person steps back and looks at all that is offered in Atkinson. From a dance studio to the brewery, there is really nothing you can't find. We offer the basic amenities of a small town, as well as a museum, boutiques, health and wellness businesses, and many entrepreneurs. I could go on and on (obviously), and it makes me proud to think that all of this is right here.

If you could change something about your hometown, what would that be?

I would change the narrative for what Atkinson has to offer. As with many small, rural areas, the story is that there is never anything to do. As I look at the things that Atkinson does have to offer, I encourage people to come forward with their new ideas they have and let's figure out how we can bring these additional opportunities to our already great community. I also would love for Atkinson to have more people step into volunteer positions that are open. If you are passionate about something or have an interest in being involved, there is most likely a group in town that could use your help.

How would you describe your community to a pen pal in another country?

I would describe Atkinson as a small, thriving community in North Central Nebraska. Even though we are two or more hours away from any larger cities, we have almost all we need right here within our reach. We are also fairly well-known for our hometown celebration called "Hay Days."

What makes you most proud of your community?

I am most proud of two things. One — the sense of family we feel in Atkinson, and two — the generosity of our area. Personally, we are right in the middle of sports and activities with our own elementary, junior high and high school students. I am always impressed with the many comments, support and encouragement these kids get from those around them. Whether it be while walking through the halls of the school, social media comments and shares, attendance at performances, team send-offs or returns, community members take notice of these kids and the great things they are doing. Among the many things I already listed, people are also very generous, and I don't mean from a strictly monetary standpoint.

What are your dreams for Atkinson?

My dreams for Atkinson would be that community members would realize the potential that our rural area has and that it becomes an even greater community. We are blessed to have so many people with high energy, great ideas and multiple resources. We now just all need to step up and step forward with our dreams for Atkinson.

What is your relationship to the Atkinson Community Foundation Fund, an affiliated fund of Nebraska Community Foundation?

I am extremely proud to be a fund advisory committee member for the Atkinson Community Foundation Fund. I have received so much confidence and encouragement from being involved in this group. It has really opened my eyes to what small communities can do and have to offer. The training and support from NCF play a huge role in the great things the ACFF has done and will continue to do for me personally and the community of Atkinson.

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