WHY I GIVE THANKS: Nemetz is thankful for community

Lesley Nemetz
Special to NEW Media

Several years ago, I was asked to write a thankful essay for NEW Media, just as I was asked to do again this year. At that time, I had only been working for the city of Shawano for a couple of short years and felt as though I was still trying to “find my place” in this community. When I wrote that first essay, titled “Thankful for Our People,” I chose to write about the people closest to me that I was thankful for.

Back then, I wrote of my wonderful husband, Greg, and our young son, Owen. Today, I am blessed to continue to be thankful for my wonderful husband, Greg, and our not-so-young son, Owen, as well as our twin sons, Marshall and Sawyer. I could very easily fill the pages of this entire newspaper telling you all about their kindness, humor, generosity to others, humility, and many more remarkable attributes that make up the astounding people that they are. Perhaps, if I am asked to write a third essay, I will do just that.

This time, however, I want to focus on our community and all the things we can be thankful for here in Shawano. While I have been working for the city since 2010, it was when I became the city clerk/community relations manager in 2020 that I felt I really got the opportunity to be a part of all the amazing transformations that were going on in our great city.

Since 2020 alone, Shawano has seen great change — new housing developments, industry expansion, multimillion-dollar park improvement projects, large commercial construction, small business growth, historic building renovations, and the addition of several nonprofits working to fill a void to help those in need.

We love to say “There is so much going on in Shawano” — and there really is. Now more than ever, our downtown is thriving, so much so, that there is a literal waiting list of people wanting to open businesses.

The downtown plaza project, The Naberhood, has proven time and time again to be the space we had hoped it could be. A place for our residents and visitors to gather and share their excitement for all that is happening in our amazing city, and a place for partnerships to grow and work on the next great idea for developments, events, or outreach opportunities. One of our city’s founding fathers, Franklin Naber — the namesake of The Naberhood — had visions of brilliant potential for our city, and I can’t help but feel that we are making his visions a reality.

Earlier I stated that when I wrote my first essay I was still trying to “find my place” in our community. I feel it is safe to say that I have now in fact found my place. To be a champion and cheerleader for this great community. To help share the joy and excitement that we have here. To help bring new ideas to the table of continued efforts to keep moving forward. To continue to foster the amazing partnerships my co-workers and I have helped to create.

We are so very thankful for every single resident who calls Shawano home, for every visitor who has the opportunity to experience all of the great things we have to offer in the “City on the Wolf,” for every builder and developer who has taken a chance on our amazing community, for every large business that has stayed, expanded, or relocated here, for every small business owner who chose to chase their dreams in our city, and for every selfless nonprofit that continues to work tirelessly for the betterment of us all.

Thank you to all of you for your continued efforts in making our community stand out and shine. Thank you to all of you for helping to move our community forward. Thank you to all of you for being supportive of our ideas and projects. Most of all, thank you to all of you for making it so easy to be thankful for this entire community.

May you all find something in Shawano to be thankful for this holiday season.

Lesley Nemetz is the city clerk and community relations manager for the City of Shawano.