At Home in Greater Nebraska – Brooke Puffer

Did you always plan to return to Greater Nebraska? If not, what changed your mind?

Yes! Following high school graduation, it really was a “plan” for me to attend college, graduate, move to a larger city gaining experience with a career, then move “home” and start a family – and it worked out exactly as planned! I remember growing up and loving the experiences I had as a child, so I wanted that for my children as well. I think it’s very common for couples of two different small towns to choose which way they will take their family. My husband is from a small town in northeastern Nebraska, so I was lucky enough that we chose my hometown to raise our family!

Any surprises?

I have to say we have had some struggles since moving back. When we first moved back, my husband (at that time, fiancé) and I lived with my parents for six months; we didn’t have a house to move into right away, because of lack of housing in the Overton area and cost of housing in the Kearney area. Shortly after we were married, we found out we were expecting, and we struggled finding daycare in the area. My three children have all gone to Sumner for daycare at some point (my oldest will be starting preschool this school year, so he has been able to stay home with me for a few weeks); and as I work from home, I travel to and from Sumner twice a day. If we didn’t have family to help with temporary housing, watching kids, it would definitely be hard to raise a growing family in Overton – needless to say, it has been an eye-opener knowing that Overton has these struggles for young families potentially wanting to move here.

What excites you when you think about the future of your community?

I’m excited for Overton to grow – to grow with the addition of people, buildings, activities, and businesses. When I think of the ideas that community members have come up with for the future of Overton, I get excited knowing it’s in line with the vision I have! I’m excited for my children to have a future here and know that they will have the same great experiences I had growing up!

How would you describe your experience serving on your local affiliated fund?

The experience has been wonderful! I’m elated to be a part of something that will forever impact our community for years to come! I love that Nebraska has this opportunity available and the background of other communities is so inspiring! Overton Area Community Fund is about three quarters through its first year and the start-up process has been nothing short of organized with NCF’s assistance.

What drew you to the NCF network?

I think one of the most attractive components of the NCF network is the experience.  The mentality of “if that small town can do it, why can’t we?!” has been something that has stuck in my mind since I returned to Overton four years ago. Knowing that NCF has been around over 25 years and seen probably most every scenario and/or hurdle that we will potentially come across, is comforting to me.

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