PENDER – The Nebraska Community Foundation is pleased to support this series and introduce readers to Northeast and North Central Nebraskans who are Loving Where They Live.
This week we meet Leslie Timm, the school nurse at Pender Public Schools. She is married to Dr. Matthew Timm, a family physician at Pender Community Hospital. She is also a busy mom of four kids, ages nine to 17.
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How long have you lived in Pender?
My family moved to Pender in 2006. My husband and I both grew up within 30 minutes of Pender. Following Matt’s residency in Omaha, he joined the staff at Pender Community Hospital. We moved into a rental home in the country east of Pender. Within a few short weeks, we were quickly introduced to the community and surrounding areas as Harold Rink’s antique tractor auction was taking place on the property where we were living. It was quite the introduction to the town, as well as to Nebraska Community Foundation. Harold and Marilyn Rink donated the sales from his Waterloo Boy Tractor and other steel-wheel antique tractors to the Pender-Thurston Education and Community Foundation Fund, which is affiliated with the Nebraska Community Foundation.
What do you love most about your community?
I love that we are always up to something. We are always working to keep Pender thriving. We came together and built a beautiful community center and are working on a sports complex and a new pool. Our hospital community continues to grow and expand its services, and our school is top-notch. We’ve got a lot of people working hard to keep things happening.
What makes Pender special or unique?
For a town with a population around 1,100, we have extraordinary medical facilities. We do robotic surgeries in Pender, and not many towns can say that. We deliver more than 100 babies a year here, too. Our new clinic, hospital and pharmacy provide exceptional care from the cradle to the grave, and we are so proud of that.
If you could change something about your hometown, what would it be?
I’d love to see a new swimming pool and sports complex, and we’re already working on making that happen. I want to see track meets in town and more softball and baseball tournaments. These bring more people to Pender and may help more people fall in love with our little corner of the world.
How would you describe your hometown to a pen pal in another country?
Pender is a small agricultural community in Northeast Nebraska. We’re a group of hard-working, kind and honest individuals who take care of one another. If you were dropped off here in town with nothing and had to start all over, you would be accepted and pointed in the right direction to get things going. We’ve got different types of employment opportunities and people who’ll help you find them. If you’re sick, we’ve got an outstanding medical community that will do all it can to heal you. If you’re looking to start a business, we’ve got room and resources to help you out. If you need a place to live, we’ve got options.
What makes you most proud of your community?
I think I’m most proud of the people in Pender. Many of the things that make our town special were built by lots of volunteer time, philanthropic giving and love. I’ve not been here my whole life, but I grew up in Decatur, which is a really small town, too. I learned young that it takes a lot of volunteer work to keep small towns going and things happening. When I moved to Pender, it felt very much like home. I saw the same things I grew up with, lots of people working hard in their free time to make our town a great place to live. We’ve got lots of people willing to share their talents and time to keep giving people reasons to love Pender. From Easter egg hunts to alumni celebrations to the Christmas Cruise, there’s something for everyone, and it’s done primarily by volunteers.
What is your relationship with Pender-Thurston Education & Community Foundation Fund and NCF?
I’ve been on the Pender-Thurston Education & Community Foundation Fund committee for several years and was fortunate enough to be part of it as we worked through The Sherwood Foundation challenge grant process. We visited other progressive towns and brought home some great energy and ideas. Nebraska Community Foundation has always been happy to answer all our questions, give us a nudge in the right direction when we needed it and help whenever we asked. We are so thankful for our relationship with NCF.
What are your dreams for your hometown?
I envision a town full of varying opportunities where my children and grandchildren will be able to raise their families. I see a bustling Main Street with storefronts full and cars lining the streets. I want to see the teenagers cruising Main on Saturday nights while their parents breathe a little easier knowing their kids aren’t traveling too far away looking for a fun time. I see churches full on Sunday mornings, and the school gyms, community center and ball fields full of kids learning early the value of hard work and teamwork. I’ll still see the pickups lined up at coffee time because I’ll know they’re still dreaming up or figuring out ways to keep things moving on and all OK.