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First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service Awards 2014 Honorees

The First Lady’s Awards program pdf (printable version) provides information about the award recipients and ceremony.


Ardith M. Morse, 2014 National Service Award Winner

National Service Award
Ardith M. Morse, Chadron

Ardith Morse of Chadron travels 22 miles every day to be a Foster Grandparent at the Pine Ridge Job Corps. She volunteers in the Education Language Learning Program teaching English to youth from Burma, Thailand, Sudan and other countries. She is also a loyal RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) volunteer. In her spare time, she donates many hours to the Dawes County Historical Museum, greeting visitors and taking them on tours. At 74, Ardith is a tireless volunteer and has devoted the last 19 years to community service.

(Ardith is pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem)


The Giving Bee, 2014 Outstanding Volunteer Group of the Year Award Winners

Outstanding Volunteer Group of the Year
The Giving Bee, Lewellen

The Giving Bee in Lewellen is a group of quilters who came together in an organized effort to provide colorful, sturdy bags and quilts for children being removed from homes and placed in foster care. As of January 2014, a total of 1,027 quilts and 516 bags have been provided to foster children in the Nebraska Panhandle as well as North Platte and McCook. The quilt and bag travel with the child when he or she is moved to a different home.

(Pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem and accepting on behalf of the group is, Lynne Klemke and Rachel Sissel)


Donna Moore, 2014 Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award Winner

Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Donna Moore, Crawford

Small towns like Crawford are dependent in many ways upon volunteers who keep the community alive. Volunteers like 80 year-old Donna Moore, who has volunteered countless hours over a 25-year period. Some of her most recent accomplishments include; calling donors and making appointments for United Blood Services, arranging for volunteer ushers at the Post Playhouse at Fort Robinson, and volunteering at the tourism information booth – putting in twelve hour days in the summer. Without Donna’s dedication, dependability, and commitment, many of these activities would cease to exist in Crawford.

(Donna is pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem)


Kari Rumbaugh, 2014 Professional Commitment to Service-Debra Hartmann Award Winner

Professional Commitment to Service-Debra Hartmann Award
Kari Rumbaugh, Lincoln

Kari Rumbaugh started the Rural Improvement for Schooling and Employment (RISE) program in 2007 through a grant provided by ServeNebraska, when evidence demonstrated that poor engagement in educational and employment pursuits creates a risk factor for ongoing criminal behavior by those on probation. As the program director, Kari oversees RISE Specialists who currently serve probationers in 28 counties located in 10 rural probation districts. Through Kari’s efforts, the RISE AmeriCorps program has served over 5,105 juvenile and adult probationers in need of employment and educational skills.

(Kari is pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem)


College of Saint Mary-Occupational Therapy Program, Omaha, 2014 Outstanding Service-Learning Program award winners

Outstanding Service-Learning Program
College of Saint Mary-Occupational Therapy Program, Omaha

The Occupational Therapy (OT) Program at the College of Saint Mary (CSM) is setting a new gold standard for how service is integrated on campus and in the community. This program has incorporated service across its curriculum. Students receive an introduction to service-learning and its benefits, through undergraduate and graduate courses. Students then take full ownership of developing service projects that have long-term benefits for the community.
Since the fall of 2007, OT service learning courses have provided more than 139,400 hours of service through many community projects.

(Pictured L to R, Dr. Eric Kyle, Dr. Yolanda Griffiths, First Lady Sally Ganem)


Carter Fangmeyer, 2014 Outstanding Student Leader award winner

Outstanding Student Leader
Carter Fangmeyer, Omaha

Carter Fangmeyer of Andersen Middle School in Omaha, has two passions that have evolved into helping many others; developing a way to keep children more connected to their deployed military parents, diabetes community education and research. Carter’s father recorded a message that was sewn inside teddy bears he gave to Carter and his brother before he was deployed. The brothers began a fund-raising effort, and Operation Voices and Love (O.V.A.L.) was born to purchase and make bears for other children
in the same circumstance. Since 2012, this grass-roots organization has provided nearly 3,000 bears for military families. Carter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of nine. He has been a great role model for newly-diagnosed patients. He has been instrumental in raising $30,000 for the American Diabetes Association through recruitment, individual, and large group efforts.

(Carter is pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem)


Tekamah-Herman Family, Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), 2014 Outstanding Community Parnership in Education award winner

Outstanding Community Partnership in Education
Tekamah-Herman Family, Career & Community Leaders of
America (FCCLA), Tekamah

For seven years Tekamah-Herman School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), the Burt County Food Bank and Tekamah- Herman Decatur Church/Community Council have partnered to facilitate an in-school backpack program to help families in need of food for their children on the weekends. Thirty-four and one half percent of the 531 students live below the poverty level. Volunteers contribute approximately 1 hour per week throughout the 40-week school year. This partnership has also made students more aware of the challenges that their community faces.

(Pictured L to R, Juan Gonzalez, Mckenzie Stevenson, First Lady Sally


OPS/UNO Aquaponics Service Learning Program Partners, 2014 Outstanding School Volunteer Program award winners

Outstanding School Volunteer Program
OPS/UNO Aquaponics Service Learning Program Partners, Omaha

The Omaha Public Schools (OPS) and University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) Aquaponics Service Learning Program represents the very best of school, campus, and community collaboration. This program includes elementary, middle school and college students working collaboratively with Whispering Roots, an urban-farming nonprofit providing locally grown food for socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Since 2011, 193 UNO students and 1042 OPS students have participated, serving countless hours
to build and maintain school aquaponics systems, harvest produce for donations to food pantries or homeless shelters, and teach STEM concepts to new classrooms joining the program.

(Pictured, McKenah Crawford, Karen Murch-Shafer, Carly Klien, Greg Fripp, First Lady Sally, Lucy Garza-Westbrook, DeAjia Philmon, Kristine Denton, Haleigh DeLaRosa)


NebraskaLand National Bank, North Platte, 2014 Outstanding Business Support for Education award winners

Outstanding Business Support for Education
NebraskaLand National Bank, North Platte

NebraskaLand National Bank continually invests in the North Platte Public Schools helping students in the classroom and on the field. Without the bank’s support, North Platte Public Schools would not be able to maintain its current high level of educational opportunity for all of its students. The bank has served tailgates at back-to-school nights, athletic events, employee appreciation lunches, and summer program events. They’ve donated $345,000 to the district through the Foundation over the past ten years for projects that have impacted academic and athletic programs across the school district.

(Pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem, L to R, Kevin Dodson, Tami Eshleman, Wendy Dodson, Krista Heiss, Ty Lucas, Kim Schroll, Marty Bassett)


Cornhusker Council-Boy Scouts of America, Walton, 2014 Outstanding Community Service Project award winners

Outstanding Community Service Project
Cornhusker Council-Boy Scouts of America, Walton

In the fall of 2013, the Cornhusker Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA) served the community through the Big Idea Event. The Big Idea was all about two major areas Scouting stands for, Service & Leadership. Through this event, the Cornhusker Council-BSA collaborated with the City of Lincoln Parks and Recreation, the Lincoln Parks Foundation, and several other community partners to put on a large scale service project. This project involved more than 750 Scouts and adult leaders to plant 300 trees at Pioneers Park in Lincoln. Project participants provided nearly 3,000 service hours in one day.

(Pictured L to R, Rene Monarez, First Lady Sally Ganem, Larry Holmes)


Deborah McCaslin, 2014 Lifetime Achievement in Volunteer Service award winner

Lifetime Achievement in Volunteer Service
Deborah McCaslin, Broken Bow

Deborah McCaslin is the current publisher of the Custer County Chief and the third generation of her family to hold this position. She learned early-on that everyone can have an impact in their community. Deb traveled the world as an Air Force spouse and published newspapers in Taiwan and Germany to pass on information families could use while a member of their family was away in combat. Upon returning to Broken Bow, she became an avid community volunteer. She is active in Rotary and works with Alliance for Smiles, traveling worldwide to write stories. She’s also organized the Hero Flights for WWII veterans, is president of the TeamMates Board and a mentor to a 5th grade girl. These are just a few of Deborah’s community volunteer activities where she makes a difference.

(Deborah is pictured with First Lady Sally Ganem)


Nominate Your Favorite Volunteer!

ServeNebraska accepts award nominations year round