Dennis and Lana Tribbie moved to Ralston in 2002 and ever since have integrated themselves into the community through service.
The couple was recognized for their efforts and named the Ralston Citizens of the Year by the Ralston Area Chamber of Commerce at the chamber’s annual awards banquet on Nov. 14.
Chamber President Amy Roeder said the process of nomination involves the city and the chamber working together to narrow down a list of residents they believe are worthy of the recognition.
The two groups then weigh the residents’ contribution to the city and the chamber.
The Tribbies said they were surprised and honored when they learned of receiving the recognition.
Dennis is chairman of the Ralston Board of Adjustments and a member of the Civil Service Commission.
Lana is president of the Baright Library Board of Trustees, has served on the city’s 100-year anniversary committee and is vice president of the Frank and Velma Johnson Ralston Archives Museum.
Both judge the Independence Day Parade and have done so since 2009.
“It’s a great seat that you don’t have to put your chair down and reserve,” Dennis said.
As Citizens of the Year, the Tribbies will be the grand marshals of the Independence Day parade in 2020.
Roeder said she told the Tribbies she would look for replacement judges, but the couple insist they be judges and marshals.
When they moved to Ralston, the Tribbies wanted to get to know their city and their neighbors, and one way they did that was to host a now-annual street party that started in 2008.
Dennis said he and Lana originally thought about doing the party every third or fourth year, but due to the popularity of the event it has become an annual occasion.
“We thought this would be a good way to meet all of our neighbors that probably already knew each other,” Lana said.
When they were nominated for the award, they were asked to send Roeder a short bio and a list of activities and organizations in which they are involved.
Lana said something that was not on that list is when the couple leaves Ralston they take the city with them wherever they go.
“We are kind of Ralston advocates,” she said. “When we travel people will ask us where we are from and if we are with other people from Ralston they might answer Omaha and we’ll say, ‘No we’re from Ralston.’
“People say no one knows where Ralston is and I say, ‘No, they aren’t going to know unless we tell them.’”
The couple doesn’t attribute their desire to be involved with the city to anything special.
Dennis said staying involved is how he made friends growing up as a military brat, and it is how he stay informed about what is going on in the city.
“It’s easy to get online and complain about your city and complain about things that are going on, but if you want to make changes you need to go out and get involved,” Dennis said.
“There’s committees for a lot of things that people don’t realize. You can get on those committees and you’ll learn what’s going on and learn more instead of just listening to the hearsay on the street.”
Lana said getting involved is just in their nature.
“When you do that you feel so much more a part of the community and I think both of us aren’t big city people and so Ralston was easy to make home and get involved in and want to be involved in,” Lana said.
“It is rewarding to see other people have an enjoyable experience.”