BLAIR, NEBRASKA (FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2023) – UPDATE: Former Washington County supervisor and Community Foundation executive director Jordan Rishel died in a car accident on U.S. Highway 30 near Arlington, Nebraska, Thursday evening. Nebraska State Patrol reports her Jeep Wrangler lost control in slick conditions, hitting an eastbound Ford F-150. Rishel, 45, was pronounced dead at the scene; the other vehicle’s occupants sustained non-life-threatening injuries. The accident is under investigation. Washington County Board of Supervisors’ chairman, Steve Dethlefs, acknowledged Rishel’s significant community contributions, including her service on the Board from 2018-22 and roles with the Blair Chamber of Commerce and Washington County Community Foundation. The Board extended condolences to her family.
PRIOR: Jordan Rishel, a dedicated and beloved member of the Washington County community, tragically died in a car accident on Highway 30 and Marshall Nursery Road. Her death has sent shockwaves through the community, with Blair Radio announcing, “Washington County Public Figure Dies in Traffic Accident.” She was revered for her roles as the Executive Director of the Washington County Community Foundation, former director of the Blair Area Chamber of Commerce, and a former member of the Washington County Board of Supervisors. Her involvement in many community activities, including the Optimist Club, left an indelible mark.
The outpouring of grief and memories on Facebook highlights the profound impact Rishel had on those around her. Julie Schelske Hayes wrote, “I am absolutely brokenhearted. Jordan was my ‘little sister’.” Others echoed this sentiment, with comments like “Jordan was an amazing person. Very sad to hear this,” from Dana Mastel and Sean M. Connor sharing, “So sad! Jordan was so nice and welcoming when I moved back to NE… Our boys play hockey and she always shared her great advice.” The community expressed their sorrow and shared their personal stories, painting a picture of a woman deeply integrated and cherished in her community.
When I first saw a post about Jordan’s death in a Facebook post late last night, I thought it wasn’t real. Honestly, it took a moment to register that, yes, in fact, the source was legitimate (Blair Radio). I saw there was a story through the Enterprise, and multiple comments from those who knew her. So, it was, in fact, true.
My personal contacts with Jordan were brief over the years. However, she was kind enough to work with me on a story in August – despite her hectic schedule. And, she thanked me – specifically thanked me – for the work I did to help promote what she was working on. It may seem like a small thing, but you don’t always get thanked, and you don’t always get noticed, and you don’t always find people who care enough to do both.
The loss of Jordan Rishel is not just a personal tragedy for her family, including her children, Brooklyn and Hudson, and special friend Scott Givens, but a profound loss for the entire community. The Washington County Board of Supervisors’ statement encapsulates the communal grief, stating, “Our hearts are broken by the tragic accident…The county has lost a true servant, leader and more importantly a friend.” Her legacy is one of service, kindness, and community spirit, leaving a void that will be deeply felt by all who knew her.