Nick Bekteshi named February Community Champion

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[February 14, 2020]   LINCOLN - On Wednesday members of Lincoln Daily News staff ate a delicious lunch out at Country Aire Restaurant in Atlanta. But the aim in going was not to get the Wednesday special, fried chicken; it was to surprise owner Nick Bekteshi with the traveling trophy as the February Community Champion. Nick was also gifted a planter courtesy of Debbie’s Downtown Floral in Lincoln.

On any given day at the restaurant you will find local folks stopping in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and it is no wonder when you see and taste the food at the restaurant. The restaurant itself has a friendly, homey feel and it is enjoyable to see diners hollering across the room to one another as someone comes in the front door.

While that is a wonderful testament to the popularity of the restaurant, it is the people behind that great food and great service who are making a difference in their community.

Make no mistake, for a small business in a small town to survive, it takes a lot of hard work and careful planning. For the owner of that same business to literally give away a portion of his profits, not just on occasion, but on a regular basis, is a much bigger sacrifice than we can imagine.

Nonetheless, that is exactly what Nick does, multiple times a year. Throughout the calendar year he hosts day-long fundraisers for different groups and organizations. His generosity has assisted so many people over the years that it is hard to pin down just how big an impact he has had on his community.

We counted up just what we know from the last year or so, and Nick has hosted fundraisers for the Olympia School District, at least three Relay for Life teams, a couple of local veterans organizations and more. He also hosted a fundraiser for Cody Conrady to assist that young man in paying his health costs after a serious farm accident last year. And, when Atlanta resident Tom Langley lost his home to a fire, Nick was among the first to host a fundraiser to help Tom recover from his losses. Nick and his staff also participated in the Lincoln Daily News Pink Challenge in October, raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness.

As LDN prepared to deliver the February Community Champion to Nick, we paid a visit on the sly to the restaurant and talked to some of his staff. What we heard was that not only is Nick generous in the community, he is generous and caring toward his staff and treats them like family and with great respect.

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He and wife Lumi are well thought of by their staff and the staff was excited to hear that he would be recognized by LDN.

On Wednesday, as LDN’s Karen Hargis told Nick he was the Champion of the Month he was very humbled. Smiling and offering Hargis a big hug as he said, “you just made my day.”

Talking to Nick, LDN shared some of the things the staff had said about him and Lumi, and he once again, very humbly noted, “They are our family, and we do care about them a lot.”

To find an employer who feels that way about staff is becoming increasingly rare in this day and age, but in small town communities like Atlanta, it is what gives heart, and in this case, keeps bringing people back for those terrific meals. Having a business in the community that cares for the staff, the people, and the community is a wonderful asset to Atlanta, and that is what makes Nick Bekteshi the February Community Champion.

[Nila Smith]



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