At Home in Greater Nebraska – Joel Ferguson

Amid weather reports, local brawl breakdowns, and friendly jabs at neighboring towns, the “Wallace Warblings,” a regular social news column published by the Lincoln County Tribune in the 1890s, chronicled the neighborly exploits of Wallace residents. A dive into the archives reveals a town where residents fundamentally invested themselves in their neighbors’ joys, successes, hobbies, and, yes, minor misfortunes.

Correspondent Tod Moxa highlighted clubs fueled by the energy of the “rising generation,” a New Year’s Eve event made magical by “harmony” among the community, and countless updates on local families—who was marrying who, which sibling came to visit from Omaha, who recently moved to town, etc.

Jump forward almost 130 years and Wallace residents remain community-focused, as Joel Ferguson and his family learned when they moved to town. A parade of welcoming residents eagerly greeted the family soon after they moved to their new home. The revolving door of smiling faces sparked an appreciation for their new hometown.

“On our first day of living in town, we were greeted by no less than seven groups of individuals offering help, dropping off treats, or simply saying hello,” Joel said. “We knew moving our family to a place where we only knew the town name was going to be a challenge, but from day one we were put at ease by the people in the community.”

The Fergusons sought a community where residents were invested in local youth and supportive of growth. They were pleased to see Wallace exceeded their expectations.

“The community has an outstanding reputation of being invested through their attendance of activities and generous donations to support the youth clubs and school activities,” Joel said. “The community continually looks at ways to better itself by passing school bonds, investing in activities, and actively seeking feedback for the improvement of the town.”

It didn’t take long for Wallace to feel like home for the Fergusons. They’ve come to realize the community values every person for the unique strengths and skills they bring to the table. That shared engagement and connection inspired Joel to get involved in civic life, specifically the Wallace Community Foundation Fund’s advisory committee.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to meet people who are dedicated to serving the community of Wallace,” he said. “Their drive and support to make our community the best version of itself inspires me to continue to do more. Everyone on the committee has a different background but each of us are valued for the perspective we bring. I cannot wait to get to work on the next great idea to make our community better than before.”

The move to Wallace has been a net positive for Joel and his family. For those contemplating returning home or finding their own place in Greater Nebraska, he encourages seeing what’s out there. His family is certainly pleased to have join Wallace’s longstanding tradition of valuing community, family, and friends.

“I would tell someone who is thinking about returning to Greater Nebraska to take the leap, as they will not regret it,” Joel said. “Life in Greater Nebraska slows down enough to ensure you can value your greatest treasures in life. My family, faith, and time are of highest priority. Living here lets me focus on what I believe to be truly important in this short but wonderful life we have.”

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