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Years ago, Marv Welstead helped craft the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

He’s been a driving force behind the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration.

And — throughout the years — he’s served on many boards and committees.

Now, the public is invited to an open house for Welstead — on his birthday.

The event is set from 10-11 a.m. Feb. 21 in the Nye Square Multipurpose Room, 655 W. 23rd St., in Fremont. The board of directors and staff of the community foundation is hosting the event.

Friends and family who attend will gather to celebrate Welstead’s 98th birthday and his 38 years of service to the FACF board and Fremont community.

Welstead was one of a handful of civic leaders who created the FACF in 1980 — and the community foundation has benefited ever since, said Melissa Diers, executive director.

The local man has served on the foundation board of directors for 38 years, and was board president in 1984 and again from 1990-1999.

Recently, Welstead announced that he’s stepping down from foundation committee work.

But he will continue to be involved as an ex-officio member of the board. He also will continue his work as honorary chair of the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration, which has a fund administered by FACF.

Although many milestones in the foundation’s history are personally attributable to Welstead’s work and dedication, highlights of his tenure include the successful Kiewit Community Challenge and the creation of the foundation’s Legacy Society, Diers said.

“In 2000, the foundation was challenged by the Peter Kiewit Foundation to match a $250,000 grant in just five years,” Diers said. “Marv took the challenge and chaired the committee that raised $309,000 in gifts and pledges in just 89 days.”

The Legacy Society, established in 1995, recognizes the decisions of those who have provided for the foundation in their estates.

Today, the Legacy Society has more than 236 members.

During its 2013 annual dinner, the foundation presented Welstead with the first-ever Fremont Area Community Foundation Founders Award in recognition of his commitment to furthering the work of the Foundation.

Welstead’s commitment to community is also reflected in the many organizations he’s served throughout his lifetime in Fremont.

He was president and Paul Harris Fellow of the Fremont Rotary Club, and president of Nebraska Commerce and Industry. He served on the Midland University board of trustees, as president of the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, and was a charter member and president of the Fremont Industrial Foundation (now known as the Greater Fremont Development Council).

Welstead was also a charter member and treasurer of the Community Chest (now called the Fremont Area United Way), co-chair of the Fremont Area Art Association’s building campaign, trustee of the Methodist Church, and is a life member of the Shriners.

Diers said the foundation invites the community to help “shower” Welstead with birthday wishes. Cards may be sent to: FACF, 1005 E. 23rd St., Suite 2, Fremont, NE 68025.

Founded in 1980 with a single estate gift, the Fremont Area Community Foundation connects donors, nonprofits and community leaders with the needs of the community, creating positive local impact.

During the life of the foundation thus far, more than $31 million has been distributed throughout Fremont and the greater Dodge County area in the form of scholarships and grants in five areas of interest including arts and culture, civic improvement, education, health and recreation, and social services.

The foundation currently administers $26.7 million in community assets. For more information about the FACF, call 402-721-4252 or visit www.facfoundation.org.

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News Editor

Tammy Real-McKeighan is news editor of the Fremont Tribune. She covers news, features, religion stories and writes the weekly faith-based, Spiritual Spinach column.

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