Getting to know you: Edward Dunn
If anyone ever needed proof that life is what you make of it, they need look no further than Grant’s own, Edward Timothy Dunn.
The 33-year-old Bartley native has had his fair share of ups and downs, but the last couple of years have allowed him the opportunity to bloom where he was planted, and blooming he is.
Growing up not knowing his father, moving around frequently, being in and out of foster care, and emancipating himself at 16 years old, all could have negatively shaped the rest of his life as it seems to for others with similar backgrounds.
But not Ed.
As if emancipation at 16 isn’t challenging enough, Dunn was determined to hold his job, and get himself graduated from high school. Which he did do, with the help of a few friends and their couches to surf on, and even a stint of living out of his car.
Dunn graduated from Ogallala High School in May of 2004 and less than two weeks later, had enlisted himself in the Army and was at boot camp.
“I graduated May 15 and I was at basic training on the 25th.... and I knew since my junior year that was what I was going to do.”
Two tours of Iraq later, Dunn’s days of military life are behind him, but he says his second tour was one of the greatest challenges in his life, explaining how hard it was leaving his family “to fight the spread of terrorism in Iraq.”
Dunn has been married to Olga (Perez) for 14 years, and the couple has three children; Issiah, 12, Haley, 10, and Victor who is 7.
The family calls Grant their home, as Olga is a Perkins County native, and Ed knew they wanted to settle down in a smaller community close to family.
They’ve lived here for several years now and Ed said his favorite part of living in this community has been that he has always felt accepted. “It’s always just felt like family here,” he said.
A full-on family man, with his Army days behind him, Dunn spends his days working as a ranch manager at Wine Glass Ranch between Grant and Imperial, where he has been employed for 10 years as of last September.
He said every day is different and you know what you want to get done, but you just never know what the day is going to actually bring, and that, he said, is his favorite part of his work. “You got your basics, you know...Water. Fence. And Mineral. But after that, it’s an open book!”
He manages several thousand head of cattle, a full-time job on its own, in addition to all the other odds and ends that need taken care of in ranch life.
Though it varies, and there are a few less hours involved in the winter months and more in the summer, Dunn said he currently averages about 60 work hours a week, but that doesn’t stop him from being an avidly-involved member of the community.
So much so, he was given the honor of 2018 Chamber member of the year.
“A little less than two years ago, with the addition of a bit of extra help at work, freeing up some of my time commitments there..... I really saw a need here. There was a bit of a lack of leadership in our community, I thought. And I know I’m going to be here forever. And I hope one day at least one of my children will want to come back and live here. So I just dove in head first, in anything I could help with. And I think too, the biggest way to make a difference is to affect the youth,” he said.
Dunn has been a member of the Grant Lions Club for two years, where he currently serves as zone chair and vice president. He said he’s already looking forward to being president next year.
He serves as the Cubmaster of Cub Scouts Troop 160, and is a member of the PC Booster Club.
Dunn refereed for the junior high and junior varsity basketball games this season, and umpired ball games at the Grant ball field this summer.
The youth wrestling program is another thing Dunn devotes his time to for the community, in addition to being elected to the Grant City Council last November.
“There is no better act of service, than giving back!” Dunn said, and shared his favorite quote, “The most difficult thing is to act, the rest is merely tenacity. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure. The process is its own reward,” from Amelia Earhart.
When he’s not working, attending city meetings or volunteering his time, Dunn said he does enjoy playing basketball, hunting and fishing. He enjoys including his children in his hobbies and considers them his proudest accomplishment.
In the next 10 years, he most looks forward to raising his kids and said he will continue working hard for the community, as he truly hopes at least one of his own children will want to raise a family of their own here.
When asked about the greatest day of his life, he said without hesitation “Oct. 19, 2004 because that’s the day I married my beautiful wife Olga. Without her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
As his outlook on life has lead him to, Dunn remains committed to his family, his country and his community, just as he feels it should be.
He said, “It does sound like I do a lot, but I don’t feel overwhelmed by it. I felt like the only way things would change is if I just stepped up. Not just me. Others too. So we can start to take strides to really better this community. I feel like for a while there, we were slipping, I don’t know what it was, but there was no momentum, no traction, and now we have some really great things going on that I enjoy being a part of, and that makes me look forward to the future.”