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Who We Are

Staff

Our staff has a strong commitment to serving the many constituents of our organization. But first and foremost, they focus their energies on those who strive to make a difference in Merrick County.



Board of Directors

Our board represents a cross-section of our community and has a passion for our organization and those we serve. The members work hard to ensure long-term sustainability of the organization and oversee that the funds entrusted to us are used for the purpose directed.

  • Dr. Kristen Hermansen-Ryan, President
    Dr. Kristen Hermansen-Ryan, President

    Kristen is a graduate of Central City High School. Kristen attended University Nebraska Lincoln and UNMC College of Dentistry for D.D.S. Kristen and her husband Nick live in Central City with their three children, Charlee, Truman, and Juno.

  • Larry Benson, Vice President
    Larry Benson, Vice President

    Larry Benson has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ag Education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and currently owns Benson Farms in Chapman, with his brother Birger. He is married to Aimee and they have three grown children Andrew (wife Kristin), Leah (husband Andrew) & Joel, as well as eight grandchildren.

  • Tyson Benner, Treasurer
    Tyson Benner, Treasurer

    Tyson is a graduate of Central City High School and received his Bachelor's of Science in Ag Business and Marketing. He is currently the VP of ag and commercial lending at Archer Credit Union in Central City. He is married to Katie Benner and they have three boys, Easton, Chase, and Byron.

  • Mary Steiner, Secretary
    Mary Steiner, Secretary

    Mary received her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from the University of Colorado School of Nursing in 1983. Mary is retired and lives in Chapman with her husband, Eric, and their granddaughters, Kenndra and Bekah. They also have three grown children: Adrienne, Cheryl and Richard, who passed away in 2020.

  • April Bolte
    April Bolte

    April Bolte has a degree from Central Community College in Grand Island and is currently employed by Southern Public Power District. April and her husband Bill live in Central City.

  • Morgan Clarke
    Morgan Clarke

    Morgan received her Associate's degree in Business and Marketing from Southeast Community College and her Bachelor's in Business from Bellevue University. She is currently the General Manager of both the Central City Mall and Osceola Foodmart. Morgan currently lives just outside of Central City. She has three children: Kiyana, Braxton and Kendrick.

  • Whitney Hake
    Whitney Hake

    Whitney is a graduate of Centura High School. She received her Early Childhood Unified Teaching Degree from the University of Nebraska at Kearney and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Doane. She is a kindergarten teacher at Palmer Public School. Whitney and her husband, Bryan, live in Palmer with their two children, Lennon and Sutton.

  • Jayme Hans
    Jayme Hans

    Jayme attended Wynot Public Schools before receiving an education in HVAC/R and plumbing from Southeast Community College in Milford. He is the owner of Hans Service LLC and resides outside of Clarks. Jayme is married to Tamara Hans and they have four children, Ayden, Kyler, Taya, and Charlie.

  • Denise Hebda
    Denise Hebda

    Denise is a graduate of David City High School. She received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary and Special Education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, and her Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Wayne State College. She currently works in Special Education at Twin River High School. Denise lives in Silver Creek with her husband Ray. They have five children: Grant, Craig, Lana, Ross and Kirk.

  • Brandon Konwinski
    Brandon Konwinski

    Brandon is a graduate of Twin River High School. He received his Associate's Degree in Industrial Technology from Central Community College in Columbus and is currently employed by Rasmussen Mechanical Services as a Reliability Specialist. Brandon and his wife, Kasey, live on a farm just west of Silver Creek. They have two children, Watson and Jack.

  • Amy Kyes
    Amy Kyes

    Amy Kyes is a graduate of Central City High School. She currently owns Big Red Farms of Nebraska Inc with her husband Steve. They live in the Archer area and have six children, Andrew, Taylor, Carly, Caleb, Ethan & Corbin.

  • Chase Samuelson
    Chase Samuelson

    Chase Samuelson is a graduate of Palmer High School. He received his Bachelor's of Science in Ag Business from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln and is currently employed by Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation. He currently resides in Palmer.

  • D.J. Talbott
    D.J. Talbott

    D.J. is a graduate of Norfolk High School. He received his degree in Utility Line from Northeast Community College in Norfolk and is currently employed by Southern Public Power District. He is married to Tiffany and they have three daughters, Kylie, Kalyn & Kyndall.

  • Kevin Urkoski
    Kevin Urkoski

    Kevin is a graduate of Clarks High School. He received a Bachelor's degrees from both Midland Lutheran College as well as the University of Nebraska at Kearney. He is currently an Insurance Agent for Myers Insurance in Clarks. Kevin lives in Clarks with his wife Shelly, and their four children: Lane, Wyatt, HallieJo and Breyer.

  • Trent Wagner
    Trent Wagner

    Trent is a graduate of Central City High School. He received his Bachelor's of Science at Nebraska Wesleyan before going to Kansas City Kansas Community College to receive a Mortuary Science Degree. Trent is a co-owner of Solt-Wagner Funeral Home which has locations in both Central City and Polk. He is married to Kim Wagner and they reside on a farm outside of Archer. Trent has three daughters, Taylor, Taryn, and Kenzie.

Our Impact Over 12 Months

  • Community Grants Awarded

    $211,830

  • Scholarships Awarded

    $138,900

  • Students Awarded

    166

  • Donations Received

    $935,881

  • Number of Funds

    227

© 2024 Merrick Foundation

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