“TRADITION” is a commonly used word found in our everyday conversations.

“TRADITION” is a commonly used word found in our everyday conversations.  In many cases, the word “TRADITION” can mean strength, or comfortable, or just expected outcomes.  From the inceptions of our community, North Platte has built strong traditions.  From our traditional and ongoing positive relationship with the railroad to the traditional events and activities found within our annual NEBRASKAland Days celebration.  In many cases, it’s “TRADITION” that brings us together as we reminisce, bond, and even start new traditions.

My favorite tradition as it relates to our North Platte community is First National Bank’s annual Chili Cook-Off— a community feeling, fun themes, costumes, a variety of delicious chili, music and lots of laughter – a tradition that began in 1984 to support our Mid-Plains United Way.  Ronald Reagan was President, Johnny Carson hosted the Academy Awards, the Summer Olympics took place in Los Angeles and Detroit Tigers won the World Series.

So on behalf of the Mid-Plains United Way Board of Trustees, Staff, Partner Agencies and Volunteers, I would like to say thank you to Greg Wilke and everyone at First National Bank for hosting their 23rdannual Chili-Cook-off. It was because of their time and effort that made this year’s Chili Cook-Off another huge success.   $3,428.90 was raised and will be distributed to our 14 partner agencies.  I would like to thank all the teams who made amazing chili, Cassie Condon for allowing the event to move to the Platte River Mall due to the poor weather conditions and most especially, to everyone who attended FNB’s Chili Cook-off event for good chili, fellowship and support.  We look forward to next year, because after all… it’s “TRADITION!”

We are a reflection of our Community...

A wise man named Tupac Shakur said, “I am a reflection of the Community”.  That small, short sentence is powerful and true.  Mid-Plains United Way has become a reflection of the community.  When you see our 13 partner agencies be able to operate, to help, to mentor, to educate, to provide, that is a reflection of you.

As I reflect on the past year, I would like to thank the community who helped us reach our goal of $272,000.  It was a task and there were a few sleepless nights, hoping and praying we reach are goal.  I would like to thank First National Bank for putting on their 23rd Annual Chili Cook-off.  Great Western Bank for letting us house the United Way Thermometer on their corner and the City of North Platte hanging our United Way Banner over 4th street.  I would also like to thank NBC Nebraska, Eagle Radio and Huskeradio for the PSA’s and interviews, the North Platte Telegraph for the stories and Pro Printing and Mid Plains Community College for our marketing material. 

We couldn’t have done any of this without our volunteers.  Our volunteers have helped with Taste of the Plains, Kids Fun Festival and distribution of business packets, so thank you for all your time to make this campaign a success.

Our 13 partner agencies have helped us in every aspect of our campaign by handing out business packets, going to presentations and being present at events.  I know we are raising funds for our agencies but they help tremendously.  I would like to thank Bridge of Hope Child Advocacy Center, Community Action-Homeless Prevention, Community Connections-Mentoring Program, the Connection, Head Start, L2 for Kids, Lincoln County CASA, Lutheran Family Services, Nebraska Youth Center, NP Kids Academy, NP Senior Center, RDAP, and the Salvation Army.

Thank you to Board Members President Rob Derbyshire, Vice President Terrie Baker, Secretary Matt Pederson, Treasurer Monica Lynch, Directors Julie Buoy, Jeff Everett, Bob Glow, Marcy Hunter, Cindy Huntsman, Yoko Lawing, Angela Raby, Tami Timmerman, Dee Tuenge and Tom Willnerd.  I would like to also thank Tammy Poe, administrative assistant at the United Way for all her hard work and dedication. 

Lastly, I would like thank each of you for supporting the United Way.  We are the reflection of our community and that allows us to …  LIVE UNITED.   


Jenny Salestrom

Thank you to the First National Bank of North Platte for hosting the 23rd Annual Chili Cook-Off...

On behalf of the Mid-Plains United Way Board of Trustees and our 13 partner agencies, I would like to thank First National Bank for hosting the 23th Annual Chili Cook Off that was on Friday, September 30, 2016.  We would like to thank Greg Wilke, Julie Buoy, Tony Berry, Josh Bedlan, Braxton Fecht, Travis Ouderkirk, Bob Mayber, Kim Barnhart, Cheryl Beem, Pam Englert, Elyse Bohling, Karen Knisley, Katie Isenbart, Alicia Lybarger, Carol Ripple, Jackie Dawson, Hannah Hokanson, Melanie Tidyman, Jan Spencer, Chance Schilling, Krystal Miller, Shannon Parrett, Kortney Gilbert, Carry Schacher, Kellie Larsen, Jessica Otzel, Wendy Thompson, Ashlee Strickland, Jennifer Kreifels, Terri Burchell and Jennifer Swain for all their hard work into making the chili cook off a huge success.  The event raised $3,226.84 and will directly support the needs in our community and the surrounding area. 

In addition, our thanks to Andrew Lee, Eagle Radio, Eye Care Professionals, First National Bank, Great Western Bank, Huskeradio, Lincoln County Board of Realtors, North Platte Catholic Schools, North Platte Area Chamber Hostesses and Leadership Lincoln County, North Platte Community College, North Platte Fire Department, North Platte Police Department, Pederson & Troshynski Law Office, Priority Medical, Rowdy Rott BBQ, Walmart Distribution Center and Western Nebraska Bank who participated by providing the public with the delicious chili and fixings.  A very special thank you goes to everyone who attended the event and to KNOP-TV, Eagle Radio and Huskeradio for their live coverage and the North Platte Telegraph for covering the event.

Congratulations to Walmart Distribution Center for winning Best Booth and Great Western Bank for winning Best Chili.

And finally, I would also like to thank our Nebraska weather for providing the perfect day for chili.  Again we are grateful for the efforts of the staff of First National Bank North Platte but most especially, we are grateful to the community of North Platte for your continued support to your Mid-Plains United Way and partner agencies


Jenny Salestrom
Executive Director
Mid-Plains United Way

Published in the North Platte Telegraph November 17, 2016