Citizen of the Year calls Wayne a 'vibrant' community

He never saw it coming.

When 2016 Citizen of the Year Bill Reeg stood up to introduce the 2017 Citizen of the Year, retired Judge Robert Ensz waited patiently to see who would be selected this year. 

Much to his surprise the details given in Reeg's speech started to match up with him and before he knew it, it was his name that had been called.

At the back of the auditorium, his family gathered unbeknownst to him and when Ensz made his way to the front to accept the award, he spotted the grinning faces of each of his children and grandchildren.

"Whoever pulled this off did a masterful job," he said. "All the kids and grandkids were here. It was pretty amazing. We were dumbfounded."

Ensz and his wife Debbie have long been part of the community, having moved to Wayne in 1977. Debbie, a Wayne native, was happy to come back to her hometown to work at Wayne State College while her husband practiced law in town.

Debbie's family has a rich history in Wayne, as her paternal grandfather was one of the first physicians in town and her maternal grandfather was one of the original publishers of The Wayne Herald.

Her history with the community was a draw for her and when the couple met at college in Lincoln, moving wasn't a hard decision to make upon her being offered a job at WSC. 

The Enszes are active at the United Methodist Church in Wayne where they volunteer and serve, In addition, Ensz is a member of the Wayne Rotary Club and he is also a mentor for the Wayne TeamMates program. 

While he is retired, Ensz continues to work with the judicial system, or more accurately, the future of the judicial system.

"I help with the high school mock trial team and I've helped with the Criminal Justice Department at Wayne State. They have a trial class I help with."

It's only natural that the community would look to him for help in shaping future lawyers and judges, after all he did serve first as the Wayne County Attorney and then as a judge. 

Ensz was appointed to serve as a district court judge in 1991, which would cover seven counties.

When asked which he preferred, being an attorney or a judge, he couldn't pick. 

"I enjoyed practicing because I had more contact with the community and the county. Being on the bench was a different experience. I can't say I enjoyed one really more than the other. They were both challenging and both interesting. You see the law in a different way on each side of the bench."

The couple raised four children here and have no plans to leave the community any time soon.

"It's a vibrant community and that's what we've seen. It's a great place for our kids to come back to. If we lived in some other community, they probably wouldn't be as interested in coming back," he said. 

The community, he said, is full of opportunity, whether it's industrial or educational, he considers Wayne to be a good community.

And he considers it home.

"I'm not from here, but when you've been here that long, you get to know people and you get to call them your friends. It's very neighborly and that's one of the things we like about Wayne." 

The Wayne Herald

Mailing Address:
114 Main Street
Wayne, NE 68787
Phone: 402-375-2600
 

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