Sandy and Stan Labertew
Initially, when Sandy Labertew arrived in Sylvan Grove, she thought she would only be in the area temporarily.
However, that all changed when the Labertews discovered the people of Lincoln County.
“We spend a lot of time at the lake, but the people who live here are the best part of Lincoln County,” she said.
The Labertews have resided in Sylvan Grove for 41 years, Sandy said. They originally moved to the area in 1977 when Stan, Sandy’s husband, accepted the principal position at the high school, she said.
Sandy and Stan are both retired educators. In addition to being the high school principal, Stan was a teacher and coach at Sylvan Unified schools.
Sandy was a speech pathologist for the Beloit Cooperative, she said, and worked in both the Lincoln and Sylvan Unified school districts.
“In the summers, Stan worked with my dad in the bee business,” she said. “We eventually bought part of that business and moved it from Nebraska to Sylvan Grove.”
The couple has three children: Brandon, Britney and Ben. They helped with the business as they grew up, Sandy said.
Sandy said Ben and his family moved back to Sylvan Grove five years ago and he and his family continues to help with the bee business, Labertew Apiaries.
Sandy said her and her husband have remained in Sylvan Grove “mainly because we felt it was a great place to raise our family.”
Living rural, Sandy said, “isn’t just an area.”
“I feel it’s a state of mind,” she said. “It’s a willingness to help others and become involved in communities and activities to help make the best of what is here.”
Ben and Angie Labertew
Ben and Angie Labertew arrived back to Sylvan Grove after working at a different school district for 12 years.
“After both teaching in another school district for 12 years, the opportunity arose for us to come back to Ben’s roots to teach and coach,” she said. “It also allowed us to be a part of an 80+ year family-owned bee business and to keep that tradition going.”
Ben and Angie both work at USD 299. Ben is a counselor, teacher, and coach at the high school, while Angie teaches first graders in Lucas at the elementary school. The couple have three children: Jase, 14, Maggie, 10 and Cai, 9.
In Lincoln County, the Labertews enjoy watching sunsets and sunrises, Angie said.
“It’s a pretty area with some of the best sunrises and sunsets,” she said.
Easy access to Interstate-70 is also a plus, in addition to kind individuals, Angie said.
“It’s enjoyable to be around great, friendly people from around the various communities,” she said. “The accessibility to [I-70] allows for easy travel routes.”
The family also loves Wilson Lake, she said.
“If the weather allows us to be on the water, that’s where we spend a lot of family time during the summer,” she said.
Angie said the area is a “great place” to raise their children.
“They love the outdoors and small-town vibe,” she said. “Just because we are small, doesn’t mean we have less opportunities than an urban environment. People are friendly and work hard, places are safe and opportunities are available.”
By Hailey Dixon for the 2018 Live Lincoln County magazine