Real People, Real Stories
Megan Roach

Megan Roach

After attending college out of state, Megan Roach could have looked for a job almost anywhere, but she knew where she wanted to be.

“I kind of always wanted to come back to Grand Island,” said Megan, whose maiden name is Billington. “My family was here. They all grew up here.”

A true hometown girl, Megan was born and raised in Grand Island and attended Newell Elementary School and Westridge Middle School.

She graduated in 2015 from Northwest High School, where she was well-known as a runner in cross country and track. She also played basketball as a freshman and sophomore, served on student council and played softball in the ABCDD league in the summer.

For college, Megan chose the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where she majored in kinesiology and sports management and minored in coaching. But after she walked at graduation, “I came right back.”

The last requirement of her Bachelor of Science was to complete an internship, which she served at the Grand Island Convention and Visitors Bureau from May through August 2019. The closeness to home made the opportunity at the CVB attractive.

“I wanted somewhere I could live at home and save some money,” Megan said.

Her parents and one set of grandparents still live in Grand Island. One brother lives in Seward, while another serves in the Marines.

After her internship, Megan worked at Fonner Park and the Heartland Events Center for two years. She became the membership and wellness director at the Grand Island YMCA in September 2021. She also coaches cross country at Grand Island Senior High.

She and Tom Roach, originally from Doniphan (15 minutes south of Grand Island), were married in June 2021.

Living in Grand Island has meant not only proximity to family but job opportunities for both of them. It also means giving back for Megan, who had a good experience growing up in Grand Island with great mentors.

“I hope that I can do that for high schoolers and even younger kids,” she said.

Having recently returned from a visit to Los Angeles, Megan didn’t hesitate when asked why she’d rather live in Grand Island than a metro area.

“The traffic!” she said. “It’s so much easier and faster to get around in Grand Island.”

Megan’s drive to work takes just 3 to 5 minutes, while she has a friend in Los Angeles who drives an hour and a half to work each day.

Safety was another big issue. In Los Angeles, Megan had to research a safe place to run, while going for a run in Grand Island is practically as easy as stepping outdoors.

“I use the trails here almost every day,” she said. Grand Island has an extensive system of hike-and-bike trails.

Megan said she’s impressed by the renaissance going on downtown with its proliferation of restaurants, bars and shops. She loves the Hear Grand Island concerts in the summer.

“I think it’s great that Grand Island gets the opportunity to host the State Fair,” she said.

Megan and Tom recently bought a house in Grand Island, so they won’t be going anyplace soon.

“We plan to stay here,” she said.