Thedford – It was a case of third time the charm, as the Thedford Service Club during the halftime of the Sandhills/Thedford Knights versus Mullen Broncos football game recognized the hard work done by ‘Hometown Heroes’ of Thomas and Hooker counties.
“Our fair parade was where we were going to recognize them as that was the theme we chose -Honoring R Hometown Heroes, but Covid stopped that from happening July 25. We decided we would try to do it that night during our annual fair bar-b-q that we went ahead and had, but many stayed home due to a ‘typhoon’ of high winds and deluge of rain for over thirty minutes which happened that night. The first football game of the season was at Thedford, thus we decided to do it then, “ stated Shannon Ahlstrom, president of the Thedford Service Club.
“We thank Connie Elliott for making these tokens of appreciation for our rural volunteer firefighters, our rescue squad personnel, our healthcare workers and our sheriff’s department. Thedford Schools also helped honor these individuals by allowing them into the game free. We included the Mullen personnel in our honoring, as our two counties know no bounds when it comes to rendering mutual aid. Hooker county is the largest rural volunteer firefighter district in the state, with our county also having a large coverage area.”
The Service Club was not the only organization that honored members that night, the Thedford Rescue Squad gave out desk plaques to individuals that have served and to say thank you to a member that left the squad when she married and moved to Stapleton. Tegwin Egle Gracey received hers for 25 years of being an EMT. They had to get her new husband, Marty, in on the plan so she would be there to receive her gift.
Others honored that night included two people who became EMTs in 1979, having contributed 40 years of service each, one in various communities, and one all her years of service to Thomas Co. Sheriff Gary Eng was in the Nebraska State Patrol for 23 years before being elected Thomas Co. Sheriff. He served as an EMT in the communities of Gothernburg, McCook, Callaway before moving to Thedford, where he has been the county sheriff for 13 years.
Pat Neben has lived in Thedford all her married life. She and husband Galen, have two children, daughter Kally and husband Brett King have 3 children and live in Newman Grove. Son Wade, who works with his Dad on construction, lives in Thedford. He has followed in his mom’s footsteps and is a member of the Thomas Co. Rescue Squad as a driver, “and a strong back” his mom says. The squad’s coverage area includes the Nebraska National Forest. “Many a family time has been interrupted by the pager over those forty years but I wouldn’t trade helping others,” stated Pat.