It’s no secret that Columbus native Hope Freshour has a passion for helping her hometown grow and prosper.
Throughout the years, the Columbus Area United Way executive director has been involved with various local nonprofits, boards and organizations in various capacities, but she is now taking on a new challenge: City Council.
Columbus Mayor Jim Bulkley recently appointed Freshour to the Fourth Ward City Council seat vacated by John Lohr, and she’s eager to get started.
“I sincerely prayed and thought about the role and felt called to apply for the position. My passion is to serve and to ensure we have a community that is thriving with opportunities, safety, and connection with others,” Freshour said. “Through my career, I have gained knowledge and understanding of our community from the human services lens which will help create a holistic dynamic for the City Council.”
The mayor said Freshour would be a welcomed addition to the council, praising her leadership and generosity in the community.
“I reviewed multiple applications for the open position to replace Councilman Lohr, and in my opinion, the most qualified applicant was Hope Freshour,” Bulkley said. “She is someone that has a commitment to serving her community and is willing to take on more. Anyone that knows Hope would agree that she is well qualified.”
Freshour does indeed bring with her a vast knowledge of the community and years of experience serving it in various roles. Since late 2019, she has been at the helm of the Columbus Area United Way, a local nonprofit that serves Platte, Colfax, Boone and Nance counties and aims to focus resources to measurably improve the education, health, and financial stability of the local community by working with partner agencies as well as providing direct programs and services.
She once served as executive director for the Center for Survivors for multiple years and was on its board of directors. Additionally, she has volunteered with the TeamMates Mentoring Program; serves on the Women’s Worship Together Steering Committee and Marigold Lanes (Women’s Transitional Housing) board.
Her background also includes serving as a Peace Lutheran Church small group leader, Peace Lutheran Church mission team leader, Mobile Food Pantry distribution volunteer, Platte County Food Pantry volunteer, American Youth Soccer (AYSO) coach and board member, Columbus Soccer Club coach, a Columbus Area Chamber of Commerce Commodore and a member of the Platte County Lifestyle Coalition.
Freshour said she spoke with former Councilman Lohr about the opportunity to take over his seat, noting his perspective provided her the assurance that serving on the City Council is a responsibility that cannot be taken lightly and a chance to be a voice of representation. She’s happy to take on that responsibility.
“I am honored and humbled to represent the Fourth Ward as a member of the City Council. I am eager to serve and looking forward to learning from community members to ensure their voices are represented,” Freshour said. “My hope is to be an engaged listener, open to comments, and information. To provide proper representation for the community regarding their interests and concerns and to build collaboration, streamline processes to have a vibrant and thriving community.”
City Administrator Tara Vasicek said she’s looking forward to working with Freshour.
“Hope is a trusted member of the community, who currently works hard every day to improve the lives of Columbus area residents,” Vasicek said. “I am confident she will be a professional, unbiased member of the City Council.”
After growing up in Columbus, Freshour went on to graduate from the University of South Dakota. After that, she joined AmeriCorps, a voluntary civil society program supported by the U.S. government and other agencies that engages adults in public service work with the goal of "helping others and meeting critical needs in the community."
She was based out of San Diego and worked in low-performing schools. Freshour eventually got her master’s in education from National University, spending nine years in California. That’s also where she met her husband, Mitch. They have three children: Daughters Averi and Alexandria, and son, Quinn.
Freshour said she plans to represent the Fourth Ward to the best of her ability and the community as a whole by learning, collaborating and engaging to find solutions that will benefit the community.
“My interest in city government is to serve and to be open to opportunities, challenges and solutions to continue to make Columbus an attractive community to raise a family and build a life upon,” Freshour said.
Freshour will be formally introduced at the March 6th Columbus City Council meeting, scheduled to take place at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 1369 25th Ave.