Going to Kansas City

Donna Vestal

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

No doubt, many people in Kansas City first came here as children, the result of a parent's job transfer. A family move, but with unique circumstances for each individual. Such was the case for Donna Steele Vestal, KCUR’s content director.

Chel O'Reilly

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.  

Chel O’Reilly is what you might call a Kansas City super-fan.

She proudly wears a necklace with a Missouri pendant, a heart marks where Kansas City is. But all this Kansas City pride has been kind of new to O’Reilly.

Originally from the Northeast, O’Reilly was living happily in Brooklyn, N.Y., with no plans to leave. But one visit to hang out with friends in Kansas City three years ago changed her life.

Sasha Victorine

  “Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Sasha Victorine was playing Major League Soccer for the Los Angeles Galaxy when he got traded to what was the Kansas City Wizards nine years ago. Victorine is originally from the Southern California area. He says moving far away from his family was at first tough for him and his wife, but they grew to love Kansas City.

Shane Evans

 “Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Artist Shane Evans first came to Kansas City from New York City in 1993, when he got a job working for Hallmark Cards as an illustrator. He worked at Hallmark for seven years before deciding to leave the company to become an independent artist. Evans travels and works all around the world, but continues to keep Kansas City as his home base.

Tracy Terstriep Herber

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Tracy Terstriep Herber had a career on Broadway in New York City as a Radio City “Rockette” and performed in Will Rogers Follies and A Christmas Carol. She was also the understudy to the Tony Award winning lead “Ulla” in the Broadway hit The Producers. 

But once she had her first kid, and realized she wanted a second, she wasn't feeling the right balance of career and family life.

file photo

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Wide receiver Eddie Kennison played in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams and Denver Broncos before ending up as free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs in 2001. This move upset many Broncos fans who are division rivals with the Chiefs, but Kennison says that when he moved to Kansas City he felt right at home. Kennison signed a ceremonial contract with The Chiefs in 2010 so he could retire as a member of the team.

Courtesy / Greg Vranicar

“Going to Kansas City” is a series that shares the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

Greg Vranicar grew up in a small town in Nebraska and went to college in Iowa. He currently works in Kansas City, Mo., as a planned giving director for the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. Before that, he worked as a lawyer for Richard’s-Gebaur Air Force Base.

Courtesy / Natalie Skadra

Eds note: This is the first in an ongoing series called “Going to Kansas City” in which we share the personal stories of how people came to Kansas City — and why they stayed.

"I don't think it really hit me until the day we left," says Natalie Skadra of her move from Durham, N.C., to Kansas City in 2006. "I cried. Like tears that I don't normally cry. It was a very difficult, painful move."

But things have changed since that day more than seven years ago.

Photoguyinmo / Flickr-CC

We want to know what brought you to Kansas City, and what made you stay. Was it the relatively low cost of living? The arts scene? Was it the recession-proof economy? Or perhaps the barbeque? 

To collect these stories, KCUR is launching a new series called, Going To Kansas City

To kick off the series, I explore the idea of Kansas City as a “destination in song” with music historian Chuck Haddix. In the coming weeks we will profile Kansas Citians and share their stories about why they came here, and what made them stay.