By Shari Friedel
The Grant Tribune-Sentinelle
Tom and Barb Tines of Venango have been selected as Perkins County Fair Parade Grand Marshals for 2022.
The Tines have lived in the small town of Venango for 42 years and have witnessed many changes over the past four decades.
Barb, originally from Ravenna, and Tom from Bartley, Neb., both attended Kearney State University, but didn’t meet until they both ended up in Paxton, Neb.; Barb as a school teacher and Tom as an employee at a fertilizer company.
After three years of married life in Paxton, they moved to Venango with ties to the town through family. They have lived there ever since, with Tom being employed at Dudden Elevator and Barb working various jobs associated with the school: para, submarine, bus driver. They raised their three children, Andrea, Mark and John, there.
After Venango School closed, Barb spent five years as a secretary at Perkins County Elementary School and 10 years at the courthouse in the clerk’s office.
Their busy lives now include farming on their own, participating in civic projects and, when they can, visiting their children who live in Durant, Iowa; Omaha and Olathe, Kan.
Tom is currently Chairman of the Venango Village Council and the Perkins County Planning and Zoning Board. Barb sits on the board of the Perkins County Community Foundation Fund. Both belong to the Lions Club and are active in the Grant Mother of Sorrows Catholic Church.
A recent achievement the Tines have been involved in was the installation of a new playground in the local park. They were delighted that so many volunteers of all ages helped with the project. A letter of appointment read: ‘The projects at Legion Park will find Tom right in the middle of them. He devotes a lot of time to making Venango better.
Les Tines was surprised and humbled by his appointment as Grand Marshal, saying that many people deserved the honor.
Mike and Donna Mayer of Grant, both well known for their friendly and caring natures, are participating in the fairground parade this year as a good neighbor to the community.
Born and raised in Perkins County, Mike to Grant and Donna on a farm north of Elsie, they both love where they live and wouldn’t consider living anywhere else, they said.
“I loved growing up on the farm,” Donna said. “It was a good life.”
Mike considers Grant “the best kept secret” and feels grateful and blessed for the life he has here, among his family and friends.
High school sweethearts, they began dating when Donna was a sophomore at Wheatland in Madrid and Mike was a junior at Perkins County High School. A friend who couldn’t wait for them to meet has encouraged the romance that has spanned more than four decades, with Mayers having just celebrated her 43rd birthday.
“We were babies when we got married!” said Donna, she was 19 at the time and Mike was 20.
Each had only been away from their hometown for a year, Donna in North Platte where she went to cosmetology school, and Mike in Chadron, where he went to college.
They spent the first year of their married life tending to Mike’s grandmother’s farm south of Madrid, and still have many happy memories of that time.
The two moved to town when Mike was hired at the Grant Co-op, and they settled down and raised three children, Molly, Drew and Brad. Mike has spent his entire career in the agricultural sector, employed by agricultural cooperatives, Cornhusker Ag and, more recently, Nutrien.
In addition, he has been a basketball referee and coach for 35 years.
Donna has held various jobs, as a beautician, at the Grant Tribune, at a bank and at local schools. Her first job in high school was at Golden Ours Convalescent Home, where she cared for the elderly. She feels she has come full circle as she is now helping her daughter-in-law look after the children in her home daycare.
Donna also sits on the board of Westview and they are both members of Grant United Methodist Church.
Outside of work and extra chores, the Mayers live simply and enjoy the little things like taking weekly Sunday walks and getting together with family. They strive to brighten the day of everyone they meet with a smile, a greeting or a visit.
“In keeping with the theme of this year’s fair, Mike and Donna have always shown their true colors with pride in their community,” said members of the committee responsible for selecting this year’s Good Neighbor recipients.
In response to their nomination, Mayers felt a mix of emotions, “honored, utterly humbled and a bit unworthy,” they said. “There are so many good people in Perkins County.”
The Mayers attribute their positive attitude to the values instilled by their parents, Don and Ruby Porter, both deceased, and the late Royston and Norma Mayer.
“My parents always taught me to treat others the way I would want to be treated,” Donna said.