My name is Brea Baxter and I am currently 18 years old. My parents are Scott and Carla Baxter, and I have three brothers: Brady, Brett, and Briar. I was born and raised here in DeWitt. I just graduated Central DeWitt High School and will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall… go hawks!
Growing up in a small town has given me many opportunities in which I am very grateful for; such as being able to run around the neighborhood as a child and knowing many people around the community who have supported me for years. I’ve always felt safe in the community and I think that is something I have taken for granted.
When I was in third grade; I had just gotten off the bus from St. Joseph’s Catholic School to Ekstrand Elementary, joyfully hopping onto my bike to venture home. I was about halfway there when suddenly, I lost control and crashed. As I sat there crying, I realized I was unable to walk, later finding out that I had broken my ankle. Minutes passed by until finally, a lady in a van pulled up to me, quickly rolling down her window, anxiously questioning if I was okay. Unsure, I nervously respond to the stranger, announcing that I had hurt my ankle in the wreck and was unable to walk. She then responded, asking if I would like a ride home. At that specific point, I was a little hesitant because I had no idea who this lady was, but before I could respond, she stepped out of her car and loaded my bike into her van. After getting my bicycle situated, she walked over to me, swiftly picking me up into her passenger seat. She drove me right towards my house, without me even giving her directions… it turns out she was a friend of my parents! After that incident, I felt as safe as I could be, and that’s all because of growing up in a small town.
This past year I had the pleasure of working at Meant to Be with Flowers and Blondies Coffee Out Back. I started out working for Lisa Duffy and Beth Hughes in the summer of 2018, and I soon fell in love with the work. I had signed up for the Internship class which is offered through the high school for seniors and was unsure of where I wanted to do it. After a few weeks of working with Lisa and Beth, it was very clear that I wanted to do my internship with them and learn more about the small business world. Throughout my internship, I had the honor of learning more about the principles of home decor and flower arrangements, multitasking and time management, along with organizational skills. I have gotten more comfortable with customer service and have learned the basics of how a small business operates. I even had the opportunity to go to the DCDC Year in Review and Annual Meeting of 2019 where I learned about the success of all the local businesses. One of my favorite parts of working in a small community is knowing many customers by name and knowing their drink when they pull up to the drive-through and say, “I’ll take my usual.” It makes you feel like you have a sense of community, which is exactly what the smaller businesses in DeWitt offer for everyone. Having business owners and employees greet you, smiling, showing that they care about their customers makes any experience better, but especially when picking up flower arrangements from Meant to Be with Flowers, or getting a coffee from me in the mornings at Blondies Coffee Out Back.
Overall, I never could imagine not living in a small town, like DeWitt. Through different hardships, the community has endured like sports games won and lost, transitioning students from old school buildings to brand new ones, or new businesses coming to town, all the people of DeWitt have come together and gone through it as one. DeWitt is not only a place where you want to shop but also a place where you and your family can live safely, as me and mine have for 25+ years.