Atwater Community Chronicles

Gathered around the table at the Atwater City Hall were Samantha Schultz, Dylan Rossell, Shane Hagstrom, Deb Mickle, Deb Friedrichs, Ricky Whitcomb, and Tiffany Hintz. Many in this group are part of the active Atwater Festival Committee (AFC), however, it also includes city council members, business owners, teachers, coaches…all who have a natural talent for organizing, leading and inspiring (example the slogan ‘Life is Fine in the 56209. Each of these individuals play a vital role in creating the City of Atwater as a thriving and attractive town to call home.

It is a busy community with events seamlessly happening throughout the year. Atwater Festival Days, National Night Out, Fire Gala fundraiser for the Fire Department, Oktober Fest, Atwater Threshing Days, Passport to Christmas — just to name the events. Other activities include catching a Chucker’s baseball game, a go-kart track, a golf course, and a splash pad.

When asked just how all of these projects happen, just how do they find community members willing to step you the answer was simple. That it was “their turn” to volunteer in the community after growing up seeing others be leaders and role models of community service. And in turn, they see the value in continuing to be role models of leadership and stewardship for the next generation.

Atwater Welcome Sign

People in the community are creative, and they like to share that with their neighbors.

There is an Atwater culture that began to expose itself during the round table conversation, when talking about how all these ideas come to fruition someone said “Plant the seed and see the need.” Everyone nodded to this, thinking about, and agreed. The town is united, and it wants to work together. It is true, not everyone is pounding down the door looking for a way to volunteer, but, as Ricky Whitcomb, said “You just have to ask people, and they usually say ‘yes’. You keep it simple, you look at the big picture, you support other’s ideas, and most importantly you keep it fun and keep it simple.”

This strategy sure seems to work for this community of about 1,000 people. In addition to its many events, the town solely fundraised and installed through volunteer hours it’s splash pad. The ‘Atwater 8’, a group of locals, continue to manage the golf course, the library has a consistent offering of public programs. All of these combined paints the picture of Atwater, a community where community members want to be together. It also demonstrates the motivated and innovated attitude that encompasses Kandiyohi County.

Meet the Atwater residents who brought the Community Construction Story to Life:

Samantha Schultz: AFC committee member, former manager of the HB, a recent graduate of Elevate Community Business Academy and is in the process of opening the new bar and restaurant in Atwater

Dylan Rossell: Atwater site manager for the Central Counties Coop site, lifelong Atwater resident and fellow AFC committee member

Shane Hagstrom: current city council member, teacher at ACGC High School, former council president at Immanuel Lutheran Church, former president of the AFC

Deb Mickle: current city council member, retiree of the Kandiyohi County DMV

Deb Friedrichs: Program Director for the Atwater Area Help for Seniors program

Ricky Whitcomb: owner of Whitcomb Brothers Grain Systems, active in the Rosendale Methodist Church and member of the AFC

Tiffany Hintz: Executive Assistant at Atwater Ford, employed with CCHS for 23 years, current President and past Treasurer of the AFC, and Service Committee Chair Head since 2022 for Immanuel Lutheran Church’s funeral and special event groups.

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