By Brooke Kinsella, West Nodaway community member

2019 has been a good and busy year in the West Nodaway community.

There are always ball games to attend during different seasons, monthly suppers, benefits for people in need, celebrations, kids programs, blood drives and church services; we stay pretty busy, but this year:

• The ball field in the Burlington Jct. city park, where the BJ Blazers and West Nodaway Rocket baseball teams play, is really something to see. The old cook-shack was torn down and replaced with a spacious building that will serve better during the spring and summer season.

The field was then extended out, leveled, new red dirt added and finally, a new chain-link fence and all-around lighting completed the project. If you see the lights on this spring, stop by and enjoy a game at the new field, it is really impressive.

• The Elmo 4th of July was enjoyed by many this year with a new vendor fair and cornhole tournament added to the schedule. The parade, kids’ games, Steve Fuller Band and of course the fireworks show did not disappoint.

• In September, the Farmers Fall Festival started Friday night and went on into Sunday. Saturday night was a fun evening with a smoked meat cook-off; if you have never attended one I would highly recommend it. There were seven contestants smoking meat and making potatoes and baked beans. We enjoyed the food from each contestant while listening to Michael Goff and Broken Spoke.

• In late September we lost Brandy Gast, a special person in our West Nodaway Community. In mid-October, a large, no, huge group of people from our community and beyond pulled together to help her husband, Andy, with harvest. There were combines, semis, tractors, but there were also people organizing everyone, food being brought in to feed the workers, you name it and it was taken care of. That day more than 1,100 acres of soybeans were harvested.

• A memorial wrestling event was held at West Nodaway High School along with the World League Wrestling in October. This event was to honor Quitman native Harley Race. Everyone who attended had a great time watching, cheering for and booing the wrestlers.

• The Clearmont Baptist Church started its Vacation Bible School back up this year and had a great attendance. Along with this, they also had a VBS December 20 and 21 for the children to learn about the birth of Jesus Christ and why it’s so important. They also made blankets, cookies and popcorn to hand out to people when they went caroling on Saturday evening.

• A new Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter started at West Nodaway this summer and continues to grow with over 35 students who have joined so far. Over a dozen Bibles have been handed out to the students since school started. What a wonderful addition to West Nodaway School.

• Every year the West Nodaway Ministerial Alliance sponsors the Angel Tree project. This year there were over 110 angels on the tree and food was donated by community members for over 30 families. It is always such a warm feeling to see people come together to make sure that everyone has a good Christmas with gifts and a meal that includes a ham and potatoes for each family.

I know small communities are the best and I am very proud to be part of this one.