Luke Fochtman can’t help but chuckle when he recalls the trek to where he is today. After beginning school at Heartland in upper elementary, he spent his time there having fun. Sometimes, however, this resulted in friction with teachers and time in the principal’s office.
Upon graduating in 2011, he attended school at Southeast Community College. There he earned an Associates of Applied Science in Business Administration Degree. Then he explored options of where to head next.
“During my time growing up in Henderson, I didn’t really notice the impact it had on me, but when I left and went to the big city, I realized how it shaped me,” Luke elucidated. This led him to keep tabs on jobs back in the area where he saw friends and family glad to be.
An opening at the radio station in York sealed his return. This gave him a chance to meet many people and get reacquainted with the area as an adult. After that job, he became the Marketing Director at Henderson Health Care.
But Luke has done exceedingly more than move back to work in the area. He dove into various areas of community involvement. Some of his current contributions include serving as the Henderson Chamber President, the Henderson Community Foundation Vice President, being on the HHC Foundation Board and a Sutton Chamber member, doing highway cleanup, speaking at career days, and umpiring at the ball fields.
This culminated into Luke receiving substantial recognition with a York County Impact Award from the York County Development Corporation. On March 18, he sat at a banquet table with his coworkers and former chamber director, Aubrey Saltus. As a description of the award recipient was read, he surprisingly realized that it was him.
When asked what he values in the Henderson/York County area, he conveyed, “The small-town relationships that you build with people; you can’t do that in a big city. Here if you are willing to put in the effort, you can see a lot of cool things we have to offer in the area.”
Many graduates wonder what it is like to return as an adult to the area. Luke assures them, “It’s great!” For him, it was ironic to make the transition as an ornery student to a reputable community member. He now serves on a board with the principal whose office he used frequent, and one particular teacher has become a personal cheerleader of him. Luke’s energy and ingenuity came full circle.
Looking to the future of our area, he commented that it would be beneficial to see it grow with affordable housing and thriving daycare, providing stability for workers and organizations.
He is also passionate about students understanding that many jobs, such as marketing, don’t always require a big city.
“Small towns are lifeblood to the state of Nebraska,” esteemed Luke. And it’s certainly the residents diligently serving in those places fostering that vitality.
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