By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
The first baby of the 2011 New Year born at Chase County Community Hospital, Timothy Tatum May, arrived Jan. 1, shortly after 1 p.m.
A story the next week wondered if little Tatum was the first Jan. 1 New Years Baby at the hospital in several years, or if he was the first.
As the story was being written, there hadn’t been any confirmations of other births that had been born on the first day of the new year.
A year-by-year look back in previous newspaper issues proved too time-consuming for the newspaper staff. A few staff members talked to at the hospital couldn’t remember a Jan. 1 New Years Baby in recent years.
However, former residents Chuck and Jeneane Welshans, now of Benkelman, contacted the newspaper last week, shortly after reading the Jan. 6, 2011 Imperial Republican about Tatum May’s birth on Jan. 1.
They were quick to note he wasn’t the first New Years Baby born here on Jan. 1.
In mid-December, 1999, Jeneane’s oldest son, Todd Phelps, took a fall from a roof at his job in Woodlake, Neb. His wife, Connie, was expecting at the time.
After several days in the ICU at a Kearney hospital with a fractured skull and severely broken wrist, Todd was released but told by doctors to stay somewhere for the next month close to a hospital.
They decided to come to Imperial to stay with Todd’s parents, arriving around Christmas time.
Connie delivered Alexander just two hours and 36 minutes into the new year of 2000. He joined an older brother and sister in the family.
The Phelpses stayed on in Imperial another three weeks, before returning to their home.
Todd and his family now are living in Hot Springs, So. Dak., where Alex just celebrated his 11th birthday and is in the fifth grade.
Most years at Chase County Community Hospital, it’s several weeks into the new year before that first baby arrives.
In 2010, it wasn’t until Feb. 8 that the first baby at the local hospital was born that year.