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Over the past two weeks, our readers have come to know that there have been changes at the Chadron Record. Change is never easy, and sometimes it is unexpected.

There is one thing that certainly hasn’t changed, and that is the spirit of this wonderful community.

Myself and Kent Bush are small town Oklahoma boys who both — on separate occasions — made the decision to come up, work and explore the cities, towns and states north. Being small town boys, we know the importance of community and how towns thrive because of involvement, willingness to help and overall spirit.

No other place I know shows that spirit better than Chadron and Dawes County. In my short time here, I have witnessed it time and time again.

On one of my first ventures to the Dawes County Courthouse, the county employees were celebrating a co-worker's birthday with tons of homemade goodies in the court clerk’s office. Even as they were enjoying themselves, Lori Miskimins and her staff were more than happy to help a journalist navigate through a new-to-me Nebraska court computer system.

They were even kind enough to offer me some of those homemade goodies, with a welcome smile.

When Judge Russell Harford found out I was from Oklahoma, he shook my hand and then mischievously warned me not to wear any of my Oklahoma Sooners gear here in Nebraska.

Don’t worry, judge. I won’t.

At one of the local Chadron restaurants I frequent when I’m here, I witnessed friends — old and young alike, sitting around and just enjoying each other’s company. A group of men were talking about how wet this season has been. One gentleman said his farm truck got stuck in a muddy field, thanking his neighbors for helping him get it out.

“We’re always there to help each other,” the friend said back.

I’m commuting weekly from Rapid City and when I am here I stay at a local hotel.

Sunday evening, I arrived in the middle of a mild snow storm. As I was waiting to check in, several travelers were in the lobby looking to get a last-minute room for the night to get off of the roads.

The front desk clerk was very kind and patient, reassuring the small gathering that she will get everyone a warm room to hunker down in for the night.

As I was walking down Main Street Monday morning to stop by the post office, I noticed a sign in the window at Racheal’s Rethreads talking about a community diaper drive through Oct. 31 to help those families in need. In return of a donation, the store will give a 10% discount on purchases.

I took out my camera and snapped a couple of photos of the window display. I wanted to go into the store, but, alas, it was a Monday and the store doesn’t open until Tuesday. Everyone deserves a day off. Especially when they are involved in community drives for those in need.

Chadron embodies every good characteristic of a strong, vibrant town — a willingness to help an out-of-towner, a willingness to help a neighbor, a willingness to help those in need and a willingness to joke around with co-workers.

Even the willingness for a Cornhusker to give some helpful (if not joking) advice to Sooner.

As we search for the right candidates to fill the vacancies here at the Record, Kent and I are grateful for the help you have given us. We are confident in the strength of this community and the strength of this newspaper. We want to find the right person for such an important job as leading a community newspaper — and I think we will have that person very soon.

We thank you for your patience during this transition, and as Kent wrote last week — together we can keep the Record (and the community of Chadron) strong.

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