Cemetery a key issue in GI debate PDF E-mail

Dear Editor:

There is one thing that bothers me very much about moving the Grand Island Veterans Home from Grand Island to Kearney. I’m unsure whether the Veterans Cemetery in Grand Island is to remain in Grand Island, when the living veterans are transferred to Kearney.

My knowledge about men in combat is that they vow never to leave another soldier behind, whether living or dead. So the question I have is this. How do the veterans now living in Grand Island feel about being moved to Kearney and leaving their Brothers in Arms behind in the Veterans Cemetery in Grand Island?

Have they been asked?

Geraldine L. Sader

History of Tooley Park revealing PDF E-mail

Dear Editor:

Upon reading the letter to the editor about Tooley Park. I thought it might be interesting to some of the folks as to when the park first started.

I don’t remember the year, that the Marquette Volunteer Fire Dept. started taking care of the park. We mowed with our push mowers and then a little later on we had a riding mower. Virgil Anderson and myself usually were the ones down there and doing the mowing as it seemed that we had more spare time than the other fellows.

After a short period of time we thought it would be nice to have drinking water, so we purchased a 20-foot piece of pipe, and Walt Gustafson had a sand point that he donated to the cause. We dug down about 2 feet and placed the sand point in the center and proceeded to drive the pipe down about 12 feet and we had a small pitcher pump that I had gotten a hold of and proceeded to pump it out. It worked pretty well and then more people started using the park. At that time several families had air boats and that of course interested more folks.

Virgil and I tried to keep it mowed as good as we could. During this time a picnic table or two were donated and also an old outhouse. Then the vandalism started and tables were burned or thrown into the river. I lost track of the number of water pumps that we placed on that piece of pipe, I know of at least 5 or so. Someone seemed to think that it was great sport to take their high powered rifles and shoot the pumps and break them up. After several years of this, we kind of fizzled out. But the Marquette fire dept. group continued on for a while, and then I believe Tom Sherman became interested and as it was surrounded by Tooley Land it seemed to change name and people to care for it. We, while we were disappointed about the vandalism we still enjoyed the work that we put in at the park.

I sincerely hope that people will continue to use the park and enjoy it.

Don Tuttle

Become an 'Everyday Hero' PDF E-mail

Become an
‘Everyday Hero’
Dear Editor:
It’s Red Cross Month and we would like to recognize our everyday heroes who reach out to help their neighbors when they are in need.
These everyday heroes are our volunteers who help disaster victims get on the road to recovery. They give blood to help someone in the hospital. They brighten the day of an injured service member in a hospital far from home. They take our classes and step forward to help someone having a heart attack or to save a drowning child.
March is also a great time to become part of the Red Cross. It’s easy. Household members can work together on a preparedness plan. People can sign up to take a class or volunteer their time. They can give blood or make a financial donation.
The Red Cross responds to nearly 70,000 disasters a year in this country. It provides 24-hour support to members of the military, veterans and their families; collects and distributes about 40 percent of the nation’s blood supply and trains millions of people in first aid, water safety and other lifesaving skills every year.
In Nebraska and southwest Iowa, the Red Cross responded to 448 local emergencies, assisted 9,588 military families and trained 35,750 people in lifesaving skills. And, people from this area donated 149,086 units of blood.
Red Cross Month is observed in dedication of everyone who supports our mission. We are grateful to people for their generosity which enables us to continue our work, and encourage everyone to become an Everyday Hero during Red Cross Month by helping their neighbors.
Tricia Quinn
Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross
Midwest Blood Services Region

Tina Labellarte
Chief Executive Officer
American Red Cross
Nebraska/SW Iowa Region

History of vet’s home significant PDF E-mail

Dear Editor:
Attention: To Our Neighbors
We Jensens have been very much involved with veterans affairs for nearly 20 years. We have been closely, personally involved with the VA facilities of Grand Island, Lincoln, Omaha and Minneapolis. This has been a positive experience, also one that makes us care deeply about events affecting the facilities, the staff, but most of all the veterans. Please listen as we tell you about the history of the Grand Island Veterans Home.
It is Nebraska’s oldest and largest home, established in 1887. A resolution is recorded in the Senate Journal of the State of Nebraska Twentieth Regular Session -- Lincoln, Neb. -- Jan. 4, 1887. (1) “That it is the sense of this Senate that a suitable building be erected and grounds provided for the care and comfort of the old soldiers of Nebraska in their declining years.” (2) “That a committee of five be appointed to confer with a committee of the House on indigent soldiers and Marines to take such actions as will look to the establishment of a State Soldiers Home.”
The Legislative Bill 247 was  passed March 4, 1887 for the establishment of a soldiers home, stipulating that not less than 640 acres be donated for the site. The Grand Island Board of Trade had a meeting with the citizens of the city, held in the Bartenbach Opera House. Within 36 hours, $25,600 was pledged for the purchase of land, which was originally located three miles north of Grand Island.
On Oct. 20, 1887, Gov. John M. Thayer placed the cornerstone of the new Soldiers and Sailors Home. Oliver P. Duncan was the first Civil War veteran admitted on June 28, 1888.
Originally, only Civil War Union Army veterans were admitted. Later, it was decided that we are one country, and Confederate Army veterans were also admitted. Eventually, veterans serving in all the wars and conflicts were eligible. In 1969, the name was changed to Nebraska Veterans Home to reflect all branches of the service.
We are avid students of history and we consider this an epic narrative. As we drive by the Nebraska Veterans Home, we appreciate ever more what has taken place.
In the matter of moving the home to Kearney, we are most disappointed that the people of Central Nebraska were not informed and allowed to voice their concerns. In our household, we Jensens represent (1) a veteran, (2) professional nurse, (3) taxpayers. We feel that we should have had a vote.  As a veteran, maybe Earl would one day need the services at the home. As a nurse, Diann wonders about transporting every ailing patient from Kearney to the VA Clinic in Grand Island; or are those veterans expected to give up the doctors they know, too? As taxpayers, we both think that $50 million is important to consider .
The only hope of changing the governor’s plan to move the Veterans Home is to communicate to the following address: US Dept of Veterans Affairs
Atten: Eric K. Shenseki 810 Vermont Ave.
Washington D.C. 20420 Thanks for listening.    
Earl and Diann Jensen

Youth volunteers appreciated PDF E-mail

Dear Editor:

A special thanks to the members of the Hampton Fire Department for all the extra hours of fighting fires during the recent days of extremely strong gusty winds.

And thanks to them, also, for always being on call at any time day or night, sometimes dealing with ugly situations and even death. We greatly appreciate the time and energy they give to the community for our safety, while often not knowing the circumstances they may have to cope with when going out on a call.

Another group that deserves a bit of recognition is a group of teens who were using their Sunday afternoon cleaning the Hampton school grounds where there were great piles of corn husks. One girl was tromping down the husks in a huge load they already had gathered while several others of the group were off picking up more husks.

When asked who was directing them to do this job, she said they just thought it needed to be done. What a refreshing answer. They were volunteering their time and energy and receiving no pay. Thanks to them for using their vim and vigor in such a positive way.

Pollie Hahn


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