How it all started

Honestly my love of writing and my passion for telling stories is decades old.

My mom said she should have known I would pursue a career in journalism from a very young age.

I can really pinpoint my career trajectory back to the early 1990s when my family was taking part in the first Tour Nebraska — a 600-mile trek across Nebraska in two days in antique cars with a group of about 150 other car enthusiasts.

I was maybe 10 years old and I remember looking out the window of our 1967 Chevy convertible wondering what the equally spaced hills were off to the side of the road.

It turned out they were the bunkers on the Naval Ammunition Depot outside of Hastings — a community I would come to know and love more than I ever imagined.

As my dad told me the story of the NAD and those ammunition bunkers, I began to write. Soon I was writing about everything I saw, every place we saw and the people I met.

Each summer we would participate in the Tour Nebraska and each summer, I would create another journal of our trip.

Then when I was in seventh grade, my English teacher had us each take an aptitude test to determine based on a series of strange questions the careers best for each of us. From there, we would each then research a career field and write a short paper.

My friends had cool career options like chef, athlete and actor while I had school administrator, school superintendent and journalist. Those are all fine careers, yet none of them appealed to my seventh grade mind.

My very wise English teacher told me to write about the journalist. As I began read the job description, I found myself. I loved to ask questions. I loved to write and I was pretty good at taking photos too — something I would later excel at in 4-H.

In high school, I participated in speech excelling in persuasive and extemporaneous speaking, both which required research and writing on my own.

In those years, I never swayed in my decision for a career path and followed that path into college.

After graduating from Creighton University with a journalism degree, I started my journalism career at the Hastings Tribune, just two days after the Hallam tornado in May 2004.

Since that time, I have written more stories, covered more events and met more people than I could have ever imagined. I have seen U.S Presidents, talked to families who lost their homes to fire and tornadoes, celebrated with high school athletes at state tournaments and attended countless high school and college graduations.

While I took a career detour into the world of advertising a little over a year ago, I know now more than ever that I am a writer. I was put on this Earth to tell the stories of the people I meet.

I don’t know what my career future holds at this point but I know I will continue to write and tell stories.

Published by Shay Burk

I'm a lifelong learner who has had a passion for writing almost from time I learned letters. I love to write stories of people who inspire me, people who do good and people who beat the odds. Now I am turning the tables and writing about a topic I know well and avoid most — me.

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