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Lorraine Lieswald/Atkinson Graphic

Gabby Wright

By Lorraine Lieswald
Atkinson Graphic reporter

Mill Race Park has been a local attraction for campers and locals since before the City of Atkinson took over the development and maintenance of it from the State of Nebraska who found the upkeep of the park too extreme to warrant keeping it open.

Atkinson has taken much pride in Mill Race Park and hires extra help each summer to keep the park well cared for.

Last summer that extra help was Gabby Wright. Not only did Wright keep the park attractive but in doing so, showed her ability to be a dependable worker, willing to ask questions when she didn't know, and to “go the extra mile” to make sure the project was complete.

A co-worker Charles Griess noted that “Wright can be sent out to do a job and get it done. She's dependable,” he said. “And I'm rooting for her.”

Rooting for Wright means putting in a good word for her to become a permanent full-time employee on the city crew.

Presently Wright is a part-time winter employee. There are no benefits. During summer employment Wright is classified as full-time seasonal without benefits. Wright loves her work, being outside, working in fresh air, all the while seeing the benefits of what she's accomplished.

For the 21-year-old, life wasn't always a positive experience.

“I didn't like school and I dropped and got my GED online.”

Wright found work as a waitress but soon realized working inside was not what she wanted to do. 

“I applied to work on the city crew last summer and was hired. I loved it. I loved running the equipment and feeling good about what I had done,” Wright explained.

This winter Wright has been working part-time with the city crew, cleaning and clearing streets, scooping sidewalks, and doing anything else that needs to be done. There are some pieces of equipment Wright will not be able to operate until she has a CDL Class B license. That will come later. 

Right now Wright is doing her part in seeing that intersections are widened and fire hydrants cleared following the huge storm two weeks ago which dropped almost two feet of snow on Atkinson.