Natalie grew up in St. Francis, Minnesota on a family farm. Her dad was a principal at the middle school she attended, and later became the Superintendent for District 15. Her parents, Mike and Kathy Wyatt raised three kids and instilled the importance of community and volunteering. Growing up in a farm community allowed her to experience and watch citizens working together for the betterment of the whole. My days were filled with school, school activities, and normal farm chores. Free time was spent riding horse and playing with numerous cats in the barn. Nothing fancy, just hard work, and discipline. There were many days the bus driver stopped the bus to say, “Wyatt kids off the bus, the cows are out”. This is typical of farm life especially when your dad is the principal and your mom is a bus driver on another route.
After graduating in 1985, Natalie attended the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Her diploma provided a future of employment opportunities. However, her work & life experiences gave her an education like no other. She was honored to serve thousands of seniors the past 30 years, and this served as the best history class ever. These seniors lived history. These seniors allowed Natalie and everyone else the opportunities which exist today. These seniors are true heroes.
Natalie married into a family dedicated to service. Her father-in-law served St. Louis County in Social Services for over 30 years, and her mother-in-law was a nurse for 20+ years for nursing home seniors. Her father-in-law was one of 11 Zeleznikar siblings, like her mom. Her father-in-law and his brothers all served in the military. Therefore, his mother had six stars in the window, and they all came home. Today, families are mobile and may not have the opportunity to live in close proximity. In these cases, community becomes family for many of us. Neighbors become “like family” and a blessing of support. Neighbors and neighborhoods are the fabric of every community.