Kim Vogt

Kim Vogt

CREIGHTON, Neb. — For Kim Vogt, this weekend’s Mother’s Day means more than just her two sons and daughter.

Vogt has become a mother figure for many of their friends who need someone they can trust or just share a good laugh.

“I have my three biological children, but I also have what I call my ‘strays,’” she said jokingly. “My kids brought these kids home. I’m just ‘Mama Kim’ to everyone.”

And now, Vogt has become a role model for an entire state and nation.

The Creighton woman has been named Nebraska’s 77th “Mother of the Year.” She was nominated by her sister-in-law and joins a special sorority, including the number of northeast Nebraska women, who have won the state title.

Vogt has met with Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts in Lincoln, and she participated in the April 30 “national conference” conducted virtually as a pandemic precaution.

“I didn’t win the national title of Mother of the Year, but I got to meet some great women,” she told the Press & Dakotan. “It was so inspiring and so much fun to be around these mothers who were also doing so many other things.”

This week, Vogt and Crofton resident Joyce Stevens traveled to Omaha, where they taped for a segment that airs this weekend on Nebraska Educational Television (NET). In the footage, the women talk about motherhood.

Stevens holds a double distinction as a former Nebraska “Mother of the Year” and as the national president of American Mothers, Inc., founded in 1931.

American Mothers, Inc., sponsors the annual national “Mother of the Year” competition, although Vogt noted each of the state’s nominees was a winner in her own right.

“I was listening to the other women, and I thought, why would they nominate a plain mom like me?” she said. “But I had others tell me I’m not a plain mom. I took in the strays who needed a hot meal or a huge shoulder.”

Vogt has done it all while maintaining a nursing career, then deciding 10 years ago to become a massage therapist. During the past two years, she guided her family through a pandemic and lost her husband to cancer in January 2021.

But through it all, she has remained strong for herself and others.

“MAMA KIM”

Vogt said she didn’t seek out being a second mom to anyone. But her easy-going style and warmth naturally attracted her children’s friends.

“Our family was pretty balanced. We were very comfortable with each other, and we would talk about all kinds of things, like our kids’ difficulties,” she said.

“But not every kid had that situation. They maybe weren’t able to communicate with their parents, and they needed a break.”

Vogt, who grew up in nearby Pierce, modeled herself after her mother, a very strong and caring woman.

“My mom was very good at providing us with a very safe place,” Vogt said. “We could tell her anything. She never judged us or our friends. She had the philosophy that we could tell her anything.”

Vogt and her husband, Daniel, were married and became parents later than others. At age 30, she was married and then became a mother with son Taylor, followed by daughter Tessa and son Trey.

The Vogts placed a priority on spending time with their children, but they also opened their home to others.

“We had a pool table in the basement, and the kids would spend time there with me and my husband. We liked it because they were home and we knew what they were doing,” Kim said.

“But the kids all liked to gather at our house. It just kind of happened. It’s not that every day was perfect. I was just being a mom and helping my kids be what I thought they should be.”

As part of her life lessons, Vogt made sure no one was left out at a gathering of friends for events or activities.

“If I made food or brought something for my kids, I made sure there was enough for everybody,” she said. “A lot of folks didn’t have those things at home, and I wanted everyone to have something.”

Vogt sought balance in her children’s lives. She wanted them to enjoy life, but they also held jobs and handled their schoolwork.

She did enforce one rule: They could take whatever activities they wanted, but they were required to participate in the performing arts.

“It could be speech, the play, music or whatever. It’s a great outlet for them, and they learn to communicate and stand in front of people,” she said. “What you learn in the performing arts will last you a lifetime. You’ll use it until they put you in the ground.”

Creighton High School qualified for the state one-act play contest in 2020, and her son won the outstanding performer award in the district meet. The one-act cast and crew received a pep rally and a firetruck and police escort for their trip to the state meet in Norfolk.

Her interests aren’t limited to family and school. She has remained active in church activities, Vacation Bible School, 4-H and as superintendent for the food division at the Knox County Fair in Bloomfield.

MAKING CHANGES

Vogt also made a mid-life career change. After working as a nurse, she became a massage therapist a decade ago. A family member was a massage therapist, and Vogt liked the idea of offering relief from daily stress.

She embarked on the 1,000-hour program, which consisted of online courses and monthly trips to Omaha for hand-on work. She obtained her license and now provides what she considers the “healing touch.”

Appropriately, she works for Healing Hands Wellness Center, which has offices in Pierce and Plainview.

“A lot of people don’t get touched (in a therapeutic way),” she said. “Some clients I work with for 30 minutes and it makes their day. They’re relaxed, and it releases endorphins that makes them happy.”

Vogt finds joy in her work, even if it becomes physically challenging at times.

“It makes you smile knowing you’re helping people feel better,” she said.

The March 2020 start of the pandemic in Nebraska made life challenging for the Vogts and their children. The Creighton schools closed and went virtual during the rest of the spring semester but re-opened that fall to classroom learning, Kim said.

Then came a devastating blow — David learned he had a terminal cancer. Even more stunning, he died only 19 days after the diagnosis. He spent his final days planning his funeral and saying goodbye to his family and friends.

Kim’s grief was somewhat tempered by remaining active with her son’s final semester of school activities. But then she became an empty nester, and she was hit with the full realization of losing her husband.

She remained strong through her Christian faith, both for herself and in supporting her children’s own grieving and adjustment process.

“We’re a very faith-based family. It was very helpful for me and my kids, especially those days when it was tough to be a mom,” she said. “But my friends came together and also helped me out.”

Those friends included the “stray” kids whose lives she touched when they need someone. “When I lost my husband, the young kids were just amazing in the way they responded,” she said.

OFFERING ADVICE

Kim has adjusted to her new life. Now, her children are adults: Taylor, 26, and his wife have a 4-year-old child, while Tessa is 23 and Trey is 19.

Kim plans to spend Mother’s Day with her family, likely grilling and planting flowers. She admits to spoiling her grandchild with a lot of “sugar” and relishing her new role.

She has learned a great deal through the years, including the need for women, especially mothers, to reach out for help sometimes.

“You don’t have to be a perfect mom. If you’re having a bad day, reach out. It takes a village to raise a child these days,” she said. “I had a really good fan base and group of people to talk to. My friends could see when ‘Mom’ was having a bad day and they would give me a pat on the back.”

As Nebraska’s Mother of the Year, does she have any advice to offer?

“Enjoy the moment. Love your children unconditionally. Make memories and make time for them,” she said.

“Realize there will be times they drop a bomb on you, but I won’t judge and will be there for them. I want them to know they can come to me with anything.”

Follow @RDockendorf on Twitter.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.