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DAR recognizes individuals, schools
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DAR recognizes individuals, schools

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Whether they were a good citizen or otherwise helped make the community better, area residents and people in two school systems were recognized this week.

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution paid tribute to local community members on Tuesday at Louis E. May Museum in Fremont.

“We, the members of Lewis-Clark Chapter, were so pleased that we were able to have our annual tea this year, and are so grateful to Jeff Kappeler for making the May Museum available to us,” Judy Ekeler, honorary state regent, told the Fremont Tribune.

The group appreciated the opportunity to commend individuals and schools for their accomplishments.

“It seemed like a little bit of ‘normalcy’ in a year that has been anything but normal!” Ekeler said. “It was wonderful to be able to celebrate the accomplishments of these outstanding members of our community.”

Honorees were:

DAR Good Citizen Award

  • — Emily Nau of Fremont High School and Anna Prauner of Archbishop Bergan Catholic High School each received this award.

The Good Citizen Award, given by the national society since 1934, rewards the qualities of good citizenship and is open to senior class students in public or private schools.

Students chosen as DAR Good Citizens must have a variety of qualities including: dependability, truthfulness, loyalty, punctuality. They must be cooperative and courteous. Their leadership qualities must include self-control and an ability to assume responsibility. Their patriotism includes an unselfish interest in family, school, community and nation, to an outstanding degree.

DAR Good Citizens are students recognized by their peers and teachers, to reflect the qualities of truthfulness, service, leadership and patriotism.

DAR Community Service Awards

  • — Two individuals and two school systems received this award.

The chapter planned to present two Community Service Awards in April 2020, but due to the pandemic, the awards tea was canceled.

“We were grateful to have the opportunity to meet at the May Museum this year and to present those awards,” Ekeler said.

DAR Community Service Awards were presented to:

Jeff Rise

  • — Rise built shelving around the south wall of his “Dave’s Drive-In Liquor Store” in Fremont and put books donated for the Keene Memorial Library annual book sale on sale at his business.

Besides the funds raised from the sale of books, the Friends of Keene Memorial Library group is able to spend less on book storage, while making books available at a low cost.

A DAR chapter press release stated: “This partnership between a library and a liquor store, although unusual, proves there are opportunities for community service where one might least expect them and Mr. Rise is commended for having the foresight and originality of thought to make this one work!”

Fremont Public Schools and Archbishop Bergan Catholic Schools

  • — Both school systems were recognized for their efforts in responding to the March 2019 flood.

While local DAR chapter members have long thought school personnel deserved community service awards, the application said the awards are for voluntary service.

“The events of two years ago made it possible to write an application for the Community Service Award for the schools because the schools in our community responded to the flood event of March 2019 in a myriad of amazing, voluntary ways,” the DAR news release stated.

When Fremont was hit with historic flooding, people from both school systems went into action.

Despite being on spring break, most FPS administration, staff, students and families spent that time helping with relief efforts.

Bergan schools planned to be in session, but closed for part of the week and joined the effort.

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During that time, students and staff from both school systems helped by providing food, filling sandbags, organizing the volunteer registration center and providing shelter for those displaced by the flood.

Staffs from both schools worked to identify displaced students, access their needs and make provisions for them.

“This unselfish gift of time, talent and resources has undoubtedly made a positive impression, not only on the community in general, but especially on our youth, who learned first-hand the necessity for and value of, community service,” the DAR chapter stated.

After the year of the flood, no one could have foreseen the challenges that faced schools, teachers, administrators, and support staff, during the pandemic.

“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our schools for the cooperation, determination, poise, organization and good spirit with which they have confronted all the challenges of these unprecedented times,” the DAR stated. “We of the Fremont community are indeed fortunate to have some very special and dedicated people running our schools!”

Don Cunningham

  • — The third Community Service Award, which is for the current year, went to Cunningham, who’s been responsible for several service projects in the community.

As Fremont Kiwanis Club president, he led the charge to build a new concession stand at the Midland University Football Field, available to all groups using the field, the DAR stated.

He spearheaded the Kiwanis project of the all-inclusive playground project at Johnson Lake. He led the fundraising effort and provided much work to make the playground and a lighted fountain in Johnson Lake, a reality. His projects also have included the splash pad in Fremont’s downtown John C. Fremont Park.

In addition, Cunningham has served for the past four years as the volunteer president of John C. Fremont Days Board. Besides his volunteer activities, he serves as adjunct history professor at Midland University and Fremont Tribune columnist.

The late Kim Koski wrote in her letter of support, “ Volunteers like Don routinely dedicate their time and talents without expecting compensation. His contributions of time and energy are incredible; his spirit is inspiring and his enthusiasm appreciated.”

The DAR stated that the Community Service Award recognizes worthy local people for outstanding achievements in educational, humanitarian, patriotic, historical or citizenship endeavors. The recipient is expected to have contributed to his/her community in an outstanding voluntary, heroic, civic or benevolent manner or participated in organized community activities.

Nominations are submitted along with letters of support from community members familiar with the nominee’s work, and other supporting documentation.

“Our communities benefit greatly from the efforts of these individuals who work, often behind the scenes, and almost always with little or no recognition,” the DAR chapter stated.

DAR Women in the Arts Recognition Award

  • — Mary Zicafoose received this award, designed to recognize worthy women for outstanding achievement in non-performing arts.

The recipient is expected to have contributed to her artistic field in an outstanding manner, beyond mastery of technique.

Zicafoose is a Nebraska artist who creates tapestries, carpets and prints in a centuries-old weaving tradition called “Ikat,” a meticulous resist dye technique that involves measuring and stretching individual threads, grouping them into bundles and wrapping portions of the bundles with fabric into a specific design.

The threads are dyed, where the unwrapped areas soak up the dye and the wrapped areas resist it. Then they are woven into fabric.

Zicafoose studied at St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Indiana, and began work on her master of fine arts degree in ceramics at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

After she married and moved to Nebraska, she continued graduate school at UNL, eventually switching from pottery to weaving.

She has been a contributor to the United States Art in Embassies Program and has exhibited her work in several countries.

Zicafoose is a sought-after keynote speaker, public artist, teacher, mentor and arts advocate.

An example of her work is a part of the Healing Arts Program at the University of Nebraska’s Buffet Cancer Center in Omaha.

Her two tapestries, each 12 feet long and 9 feet wide, titled “Hope and Healing,” are in the lobby of the Buffett Cancer Center.

The words “hope” and “healing” are woven in 16 languages.

A letter of support from Karin Campbell of Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum stated, “Mary is skilled, insightful, and generous and she possesses an unwavering faith in the power of art.”


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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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