Photo by Jay Huff
Neal Criddle officially started work this week as the executive director of The Connection homeless shelter in North Platte. The board of directors announced Criddle’s hiring Tuesday. He replaced Roy Lawton, who was hired in June and resigned in October.
Criddle has been in law enforcement for most of his career. He was a North Platte police officer for nine years after a stint on the Aberdeen S.D. police force.
More recently, he was a manager at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center for five years.
His wife Heidi manages Heidi’s restaurant downtown in the Parkade Plaza.
Criddle will "positively impact the cause of helping the homeless in our region," said Jim Nelson, the president of the Connection’s board of directors.
Criddle will oversee daily operations, public relations and financial aspects. He said he will work to keep the facility an important and viable resource to North Platte and he looks forward to working with the community.
“Financial stability is important,” he said, “and keeping up what’s going on with grants will be challenging. We plan on having the International Dinner in October (a fundraiser) and I will be exploring other fundraising ideas too.”
The Criddles found North Platte while they were on a trip to Colorado. They liked the size of the town and the way it looked.
“I went to the police department and asked for an application,” Criddle said. “They gave me one and told me the deadline was that day, and we’ve been here since.”
Criddle said The Connection is running smoothly and he has no plans for any big changes right away.
Nelson said The Connection is thrilled to have Criddle.
“Neal is uniquely qualified to lead the way by working with and galvanizing the efforts of The Connection board, our partners and community leaders,” Nelson said.