The Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and Gothenburg Improvement Company presented several annual awards during the Gothenburg Community Development Office’s Business After Hours event on March 21. Dr. Kim Johnson, Chamber of Commerce board president, presented four Honorary Pony Express Rider Awards. These are given to an individual or group that contributes to the economic growth and stability of the community, goes above and beyond the call of duty toward community improvement and lives by the philosophy of “doing good for others” or devotes unselfishly of their time and efforts toward the betterment of the community.
• Jan Gill volunteers her time and talents to many local organizations and causes, not the least of which includes four decades of service as choir director at the First Presbyterian Church. She also supports the Sun Theatre, is a board member for the Gothenburg Library Foundation and Gothenburg TeamMates, volunteers at the Gothenburg Historical Museum, is a member of PEO Chapter AW, is a YMCA supporter, serves as a board member and advocate for CASA, is involved in the mission and activity planning for the Dawson County Drug Court and volunteers as a Destination Imagination appraiser. (Photo is Jan Gill with Chamber board president Dr. Kim Johnson.)
• Karl Randecker, president of First State Bank, serves on a variety of local boards, most notably as chairman of the Gothenburg Health Foundation board of directors, which was instrumental in expanding Gothenburg’s health care opportunities through hospital construction and the addition of the YMCA. Karl took the lead when Fist State Bank donated the first $500,000 toward the YMCA capital campaign through the Ralston Foundation and he is quick to say yes to local fundraising efforts for all kinds of projects. He was recognized for his tireless work and unending generosity to make this community a better place. (Photo is Karl Randecker with Chamber board president Dr. Kim Johnson.)
• Devin Brundage recently stepped down from the Sun Theater board of directors but is still the first one to offer his service. Devin was the key individual during fundraising and installation of a digital projector and surround sound. He has also helped with sound and wiring projects at the First United Methodist Church and American Lutheran Church on his own time. Devin serves on the Gothenburg school board, Gothenburg Improvement Company board of directors and recently completed the Nebraska Leadership Program. He was instrumental in building expansion at Central Nebraska Public Power & Irrigation District’s Gothenburg office and was recently named Central’s general manager. (Photo is Devin Brundage with Chamber board president Dr. Kim Johnson.)
• Livin’ Out Loud has become a huge event in Gothenburg and the surrounding area. This summer, the Livin’ Out Loud board of directors will put on the seventh annual free Christian concert drawing thousands to town. Organizers represent many different denominations and churches, and all are dedicated to keeping the concert a free event, so the Livin’ Out Loud committee spends the entire year fundraising for an annual budget over $100,000. These individuals work tirelessly planning and organizing vendor space, parking, bathroom facilities, stage crew, lighting and sound technicians, lodging for entertainers, promotions and the entertainment each year. The economic impact that is felt by the community each August as the result of Livin’ Out Loud is enormous. (Photo is of members of the Livin’ Out Loud board of directors.) The Gothenburg Improvement Company presented four awards to businesses or individuals in recognition and appreciation of their commitment to Gothenburg and their investment to grow with Gothenburg into the future.
• LandMark Implement has been part of Gothenburg’s business community since purchasing Husker Ag in 2009. LandMark’s equipment sales are focused in Dawson, Custer, Lincoln and Frontier counties, while the mobile service area has grown to encompass all of Western Nebraska from Chadron to Grant and Torrington, Wyo., to Sterling, Colo. LandMark has expanded several times over the past 10 years. In 2018, a 100-foot by 100-foot shop was added at a cost of $1.2 million, doubling the service capabilities. LandMark Implement’s Gothenburg location employs 24 people, the largest portion being five in the parts department and 10 service technicians. The addition of two more technicians is planned in 2019. LandMark Implement employs 380 employs at 16 locations — three locations in northern Kansas and 13 in Nebraska. (Photo is of LandMark employees Matt Farr, Alan Oberg and Matt Franzen with GIC vice president Aaron Coleman.)
• Gothenburg Health and Gothenburg’s brand new YMCA are shining examples of how communication, collaboration and cooperation can benefit an entire community. Through much hard work and innovative forward thinking, Gothenburg Health has become a premier critical access hospital in Central Nebraska. Over the past five years, the hospital has more than tripled deliveries of babies, tripled lab testing and doubled gross revenue all while working to improve patient care with 10 in-house providers and more than 20 visiting specialists. And where the focus of the hospital was once making sick people well, the addition of the YMCA has helped navigate the focus toward keeping well people well. Long before the YMCA building was even complete, the Y staff began changing the lives of people of all ages. Now, the membership numbers have far out-paced the goals and the YMCA is Gothenburg’s “place to be.” The economic impact of the hospital and YMCA on Gothenburg will be evident for years to come. (Photo is Gothenburg Health and YMCA representatives with GIC board member Mike Bacon.)
• Curt Carskadon is a 1966 graduate of Gothenburg High School who has always had a passion for the Swedes. Curt was instrumental in organizing and fundraising when the Cindermates group was formed to build a state-of-the-art track and field facility. This made it possible for Gothenburg to host the Nebraska Championship Track meet for junior high athletes beginning in 2010. This premier event provides an opportunity for junior high athletes to compete at a high level in a statewide, all-class meet. But track is not Curt’s only focus. He is a champion of all kids. He has done much work behind the scenes and has quietly given generously to improve opportunities for individual children and Gothenburg’s young people in general. (Photo is Curt Carskadon with GIC board president Nathan Wyatt.)
• Dr. Michael Teahon has been superintendent of schools in Gothenburg since 2001. During that time, Dr. Teahon helped create a school system that is not only looked up to by surrounding schools but also serves as one of the prized assets of the Gothenburg community. He is involved with the Greater Nebraska Superintendents and was appointed to serve as the education representative on the Rural Development Commission because he possesses an experienced background in school finance at both the local and state levels. He has lectured for the Educational Administration Department at the University of NebraskaKearney since 2013 and was selected 2018-19 Superintendent of the Year by the Nebraska Association of School Administrators. Dr. Teahon not only exemplifies “The Gothenburg Way,” but he’s one of those responsible for defining what “The Gothenburg Way” is. (Photo is Dr. Michael Teahon with GIC board member Devin Brundage.) In addition to these main awards, the Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce also recognized outgoing board members Katie Koopman and Yvette Joy, who each served on the board from January 2016 through December 2018, and Scott Bartels, who represented GIC on the Chamber board through 2017 and 2018. Chamber Ambassadors who achieved 200 points for activities in 2018 were also recognized for earning President’s Club status by 2019 Ambassador president Joe Libal. Those Ambassadors are: Anne Anderson, Travis Anderson, Aaron Coleman, Theresa Demoret, Kyle Fornoff, Charolett Janssen, Verlin Janssen, Joe Libal, Steve Peterson, Will Rahjes, Denise Romatzke, Caroline Scott, Tim Strauser, Tonya Stueben and Rana Williamson.