(AGWEEK) BOWMAN, N.D. — During the great recession in 2008, Melinda Padilla Lynch and her husband Matthew were facing challenging times in their hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Jobs were few and far between, and getting by was becoming harder and harder for the couple. The two looked to North Dakota, where they ultimately found stability and opportunity in Bowman.
“We rolled the dice,” said Melinda. “We pulled into town and Matthew took a job over the phone with R&L Construction.”
That was 10 years ago and since then, the couple has settled in, having two kids, Lincoln and Ezra. They’ve also found their place with careers that complement their family-focused lifestyle.
“We were trying to figure out what our role was and what that looked like,” Melinda said.
“Then we started having kids and my husband opened his own business and we’ve just made this place more permanent.”
Matthew owns Clover Construction, a small residential construction company that serves Bowman and surrounding rural communities. Melinda found her niche as well, working part-time as an administrative assistant to the Bowman Police Department. Melinda has been in that role for six years and since then has made an impact in the lives of many others in roles similar to hers. Last year, she created a conference where police administrative staff around the region could come together and learn from one another.
“The theme was ‘How to love your community when you see the worst,’” she said. “That really was such a pivotal offering because a lot of us never had anyone to talk to about these things.”
The second annual Law Enforcement Administrative Support Conference will be held this month at the Four Seasons in Bowman. This year’s event will bring together about 100 police administrative staff from North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming for two days of discussions and speakers.
“There are so many great things we learn from each other during this event,” Melinda said. Melinda added that the experience has been
one of her biggest, most fulfilling endeavors.
“Melinda saw there was a lot of potential for growth and betterment of the law enforcement community,” said Bowman Police Chief Charles Headley. “Officers are sent to schools for continuing education, but there wasn’t anything of that nature for her positions.”
Like Melinda, Headley came to Bowman for employment opportunities. Headley was a law enforcement officer in Nebraska for about 24 years before moving to Bowman in June 2008 to become police chief.
“I came up here and checked the community out. I was really surprised by what it offered. I liked what I saw, so I brought the family up,” he said.
Melinda and Matthew also have found Bowman to be a great place to raise a family as
well as start something new.
“The safety factor is nice. I can send my kids outside and play and I don’t really have to worry,” she said. “I see many great things that could happen. North Dakota is a great place to start a small business. I feel like there are so many possibilities.”