Heartland United Way Celebrates Those Who Will "Be the One"


Touching lives, like the Stieb family, so they don't have to decide which bills to pay while their daughter receives costly medical treatment -- the Heartland United Way honors those who've decided to "be the one".

Board Chair Ron Depue said, "We can each 'be the one', step up, ask yourself what can I do to improve life in our community."

It's a record setting year, surpassing their $1.55 million goal.

Campaign Chair Terry Pfeifer said, "It's incredible year after year to see people step up to the call to give, the call to 'be the one' and help those in need."

But an organization that helps others recently found itself in need. The United Way office has been in a community center run by St. Stephen's Church, that told tenants the building needs to come down.

Depue said, "That was really unexpected and I understand the church thought it was in their best interest to close the facility."

At their annual meeting, United Way President Karen Rathke announced their new location, at 1441 N. Webb Road, across the street from the Conestoga Mall.

Depue said it may be an even better location than they were in.

"This will fulfill our space and office and meeting needs for years to come," he said.

The Thayer family of Grand Island offered the space, and will customize it to fit the United Way's needs, all for around the same rent.

Outgoing board chair Ron Depue said it's done in the same spirit that drives the United Way, to help families like the Stiebs.

"We each step up, we say 'I'm going to be the one,' collectively we can make a real difference in central Nebraska," Depue said.

Those United Way dollars support a variety of organizations like the American Red Cross, Adult Basic Education, Boy Scouts, and Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism among others.

They honored two men with the first-ever "Be the One" awards, giving a standing ovation to radio announcer Brad Fossberg who rarely says no to community events, even as he battles cancer.

And they also honored the late Bill Dunn of the Grand Island Independent. Dunn had served on the United Way board, and also used his artistic talents to design logos like the one used for the United Way's Moo-Claw event.