Strong family ties to Northeast Nebraska helped draw a new police officer and his family to Neligh.
Kraig Nelson, a sergeant with the Washington County Sheriff's Department, will put on a new badge Wednesday as he begins his first tour as a member of the Neligh Police Department.
Kraig and Vanessa Nelson, along with their 7-year-old son Jaxon, will be moving to Neligh this summer. Kraig has temporary housing until they can officially move into their new home, which also allows Jaxon to finish his first season of pitch baseball in Fort Calhoun.
Kraig has been with the Washington County Sheriff's Department since 2008. He's not a stranger to Northeast Nebraska since he was an officer in O'Neill the two years prior.
He said they chose Neligh because they wanted to be near Vanessa's family. Kraig is a Fort Calhoun native, so it was time for them to move closer to Creighton, where Vanessa is from.
She is the daughter of Bill and Colleen Fanta of Creighton.
"When I worked in O'Neill, I liked it up there. It was the fact that I didn't have anybody to tie me there, so I moved back," Kraig said. "It was a month later that I met her from up here. If it would have happened a little sooner, I probably would still be in O'Neill."
Vanessa is a data analyst for a financial company in Omaha and works out of their home. She graduated from Creighton, and then moved to Lincoln to college and to Omaha for a job. Kraig and Vanessa in Fort Calhoun shortly after he moved back.
"It was really a matter of finding him a job because I could go anywhere. All of my family is from the area around Creighton, so we wanted to be back to my home," she said. "He had moved to his home when he met me, so now we're moving to my home."
The entire family is spending the holiday weekend in Neligh. Jaxon already has received a warm welcome since he won the free bicycle at Friday's annual bike rodeo at the Neligh Library.
Jaxon, who will be a second-grader at Neligh-Oakdale in the fall, said he knows exactly what he's looking forward to by moving to Neligh.
"The pool," he said.
"We don't have a pool in our town, so that's at the top of our list," Vanessa said.
The City of Neligh pool opens on Sunday for the summer season, and Jaxon said he is planning to go swimming the first day it is open.