Katelyn knew she wanted to live in a place like Alexandria. So why not?

As a young girl growing up in Alexandria, Katelyn Spangrud thought everyplace was like her home. She loved the town and the lakes. Wasn’t the world like this everywhere?

Then life happened, as it does when growing up. That initial impression changed: “I guess not everyplace is the same as here!”

Exploring outside the region did make her realize one thing: she needed to keep the Alexandria area amenities in her life!

Katelyn, Erik and their newest family member, Winnie the poodle!

Katelyn, Erik and their newest family member, Winnie the poodle!

The journey to that realization started after graduation. “When I was 18, I just wanted to get out (of town),” she smiles. “I wanted to go big or go home.” The college of her choice was five hours away at the University of South Dakota-Vermillion where she majored in criminal justice and philosophy.

Four years later, Katelyn opted to enroll in law school and she had two excellent choices: Michigan State University College of Law or Mitchell Hamline School of Law in St. Paul. It was an agonizing decision, but she chose to come back to Minnesota.

At law school, Katelyn met and married Erik, who grew up in the cities suburb of Chanhassen. Then the path went from Mitchell Hamline to a judicial clerkship and finally to a full-time job back in Alexandria with the Swenson Lervick law firm.

When that job offer came, Erik and Katelyn were ready to make a home anywhere in greater Minnesota, but the stars aligned and they are super excited to be back in her hometown. “It wasn’t hard to convince Erik to move, either,” Katelyn laughs.

Katelyn isn’t the only hometown kid who chose to return home. She found several of her best friends in high school also ended up living in Alexandria or close by.  So she couldn’t be happier.

“I love the lakes and hanging out at the beach. When I was in Vermillion, I literally had one beach and in the Twin Cities, I didn’t have any (that she liked),” she said. “But here there are so many options.”

On a typical weekend, if not at the beach, you might find Erik and Katelyn touring around the lakes on their motorcycle, catching a movie, hanging with family or meeting friends for a competitive game of bowling.

Or they will be taking their new toy poodle, Winnie, out for a walk.

Yes, that’s Winnie the Poo….dle. “I never thought of that!” she laughs.

When thinking about the Live Wide Open campaign, it matches Katelyn’s view of the wide open spaces she enjoys around Alexandria. “Erik said even though this is a small town, it doesn’t feel small,” she said. “This is a great community, my job is great. It’s been so much better than I could have imagined.”