This week I would like to thank all those who do volunteer work across our state and celebrate some of their accomplishments. Recently I attended the awards ceremony of ServeNebraska, an organization which seeks to strengthen communities by promoting volunteerism. Needless to say, I met some amazing people and heard some of their stories. So, today I would like to tell you about three award winners who stood out to me.

The first was Wolf Auto in Ogallala. Wolf Auto won in the Small Business category for their numerous volunteer work. Employees at Wolf Auto volunteer in several service organizations and host a variety of fund-raising events for local causes. During the March floods, for instance, Wolf Auto sent semi-truck loads of cleaning supplies and hay to the affected areas. Dave Wolf, the CEO even donated a mobile home to a family in Fremont. Isn’t it nice when folks from Western Nebraska get recognized in the State for the tremendous work they do?

The second person who stood out to me was Molly Kammerer of Sutherland. Molly is a 15 year-old high school sophomore. Besides being involved in high school sports, Student Council, drama, TeamMates, and making the academic honor roll, Molly was selected for the National FFA Honor Choir and sang the National Anthem at several Memorial Day programs and even played Taps on her trumpet for the Color Guard as they retired an American flag. In addition, her community service also included working at a local food pantry, serving at a pancake feed on the 4th of July, and working as a leader in her church’s Vacation Bible School Camp. Molly set such an outstanding example of volunteerism in her small town that she won the Youth Volunteer Leadership award.

Finally, Alyssa Spartz, a student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, stood out to me because of the way she helped our flood victims this year. Alyssa put her studies in Emergency Management and Psychology directly into action by volunteering with the Red Cross in Fremont. She then started an emergency housing facility, set up cots, and organized donations for disaster relief. After the flood waters receded, Alyssa stayed around to assist in the clean-up effort by cleaning the homes of flood survivors. She also helped to restore the Washington County Fairgrounds by power washing, sanding, and painting buildings in preparation for the County Fair.

These are just a few examples of how volunteers have made a difference in our communities and made life better for many people. However, scattered throughout Nebraska is an army of volunteers who work in our fire departments and who serve as EMTs. Others serve in our schools and hospitals. The list goes on of those who sacrificially give of their time and resources to keep our communities safe, well, and moving forward. Without these volunteers our lives would be much more difficult, especially in rural Nebraska.

Thank you to all of you who volunteer your time and talents. It is truly amazing how much time and effort volunteers contribute throughout our state. In fact, I believe our volunteerism is something which sets Nebraska apart from other states and makes us such an attractive place to live and to raise a family. So, the next time you cross paths with a volunteer be sure to thank them for their service to the community, and if you know someone who stands out for their community service, consider nominating them for a ServeNebraska award by visiting their website at www.serve.nebraska.gov.

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