I want to introduce you to a person who once carried the nickname "Transplant," given to her when she first moved to Fulton. She no longer carries that title.
Nancy Lewis carries the name given to her at birth by her parents, plus her married last name. Since her arrival in Fulton in 1980, Nancy has worked diligently serving the community and making her own way. She has earned the merit and respect she now has in this county.
Nancy was born and grew up on a farm in south-central Nebraska near Hastings. She whizzed through public school and on to college at Hastings College, graduating with a degree in education. It was during the national draft, in 1967, that her sweetheart got his papers to report for active military service. Throughout his time, he studied nuclear chemistry. Soon the service began sending him to many different places to work and study — from Nebraska, to Idaho, to California, to Illinois with Nancy following him.
Not knowing when or where they would be at any given time, she was unable to hold down a full-time job, yet she couldn't just to do nothing, so substitute teaching was her outlet. With retirement for her husband in 1978, they began to seek out a good place to settle down and a good job. Fulton was one of the places they toured and felt it was the place for them. With a job at the U.E. Plant and the girls in school, Nancy began looking for something.
She found the perfect job working as the director of the Methodist Ministerial Department, working there for five years. When offered an opportunity to fill the role of director for the Callaway County Chamber of Commerce, she was elated. She stayed for 22 years.
In this new role, Nancy said she saw many changes in the community. The population grew as did additions to schools. New businesses opened and houses sprung up everywhere. Carpenters had no problem finding work. The business district downtown saw a renovation that was welcomed by everyone in Fulton and the surrounding community. "The Street Walker" was what her staff called her. You see, as often as she could, Nancy walked to and from business appointments.
"I felt it was much easier face-to-face to get ones point/idea across, forming a better relationship than visiting on the phone," she told me.
Walking through downtown, she would always see more people, giving them a hello or a smile, many times stopping for a short chat. Her goals for Fulton and Callaway County were to have an idea/vision, a steady workforce, better communication, and a place for children to intermingle and grow up here. Nancy, Bruce Hackmann, of the Fulton Area Development Corporation, and their team worked hours upon hours for three years on an economic development plan for Fulton. Their efforts brought Dollar General's warehouse to Fulton.
When asked what she thought about her role as the Chamber's director, Nancy said, "I feel that being a part of that development was my greatest achievement."
True to Nancy's work ethics, she wasted no time in filling her calendar with her job responsibilities at the Chamber, as well as contributing to the community. She served on the board for the Friends of the Churchill Memorial Museum having an opportunity to meet Margaret Thatcher, Mikhail Gorbachev, Lech Walesa and other famous people. She is a member of Chapter KE of the P.E.O. Sisterhood, the Methodist Church and numerous other community actives.
Nancy is now the director of the Kingdom of Callaway Historical Society Museum.
"I feel I am no longer a 'transplant,'" she told me. "I love living and working here. My roots are buried deep right here. I love my house and have no plans to go elsewhere to live."
Other than her two daughters, Jennie and Carrie, Nancy enjoys doing ink drawings and loves to cook. Here is a recipe that she thought you might find easy to make and scrumptious to eat.
HOT CHEESE DIP
1 lb. Velveeta cheese
1 can green chilies (4 0z.) chopped fine
1 can chili without beans
4 green onions, chopped thinly
Combine all ingredients in a small crock pot or simmer for 3 hours, stirring occasionally.