Nebraska City residents helped improve the community to celebrate the first Dean Handy Day of Community Service.
On Sunday, June 11, a group of Nebraska City residents led by Jim Kuhn painted the picnic shelter on the south side of Steinhart Pond, and Mayor Bryan Bequette and his wife, Kelly, spent time weeding between the bricks on Memorial Way.
June 11 would have been Handy’s 83rd birthday, and Mayor Bequette asked residents to perform acts of community service on that day.
Organizers of the annual LDS Omaha stake’s camping trip at Camp Catron picked up the theme of the day and extended it through the week with 18 young women who were week-long residents of the community.
On Thursday, campers helped clean up around the Veteran’s Memorial Building, then had a brief tour inside led by Ted Beilman, president of the Nebraska City Veteran’s Memorial Building Project.
On Friday, the campers divided their time between cleaning around the Wildwood Historic Center after being taken on a tour of the house, and stabilizing the bricks on Memorial Way by filling in the spaces between them with sand, which was followed by another presentation by Beilman, this time on the upcoming memorial mural project that will feature likenesses of Otoe County service members.
Tiffany Mann, who accompanied the campers to Memorial Way Friday, said the aim of the project was to give the young women a sense of how their work was helping the community.
She said some of the campers offered to do more cleaning inside the Veteran’s Memorial Building after they saw some of the photos inside and heard Beilman’s presentation. “They were inspired,” said Mann, “and that spirit came from within them. We wanted them to see how their projects were going to help the community” during their visit to Nebraska City this summer.
Vic Johns, who followed Handy as Nebraska City Street Commission, characterized him as “a supporter of just about every cause that made the community look good.”
“He loved this community,” said Johns. “He not only spoke about it, he lived community service, and he was just a tremendous man.”
“Our community is filled with people who are willing to serve, and it’s because of Dean’s example in many cases,” Johns continued.