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News
Law enforcement officers train with life-saving devices
  • Updated

Law enforcement officers from 11 local agencies trained to use automated external defibrillator devices for emergency heart situations Tuesday at the Hastings Police Department.

The life-saving devices will be making their way to nearly every patrol vehicle in the state thanks to a $6.4 million grant.

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust awarded the grant to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services for the distribution of AED devices to law enforcement organizations throughout the state.

HPD Capt. Mike Doremus said the department will receive 18 AED devices through the grant, which will allow the department to deploy one to every patrol vehicle. The goal is to have the devices ready for use by the middle of July.

“This gives us that as another tool that will be available when needed,” he said. “To have an organization like this give us 18 AEDs is amazing.”

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Erik Holt with Stryker presents AED training for area law enforcement Tuesday morning at Hastings Police Department.

Along with the devices, the grant provided funding for training law enforcement personnel on the use of the AEDs. Four officers with HPD took the training, with the plan to pass the information on to their fellow officers.

George Reitz was one of those officers. In his nearly two years as an officer, Reitz said, he hasn’t come upon a situation where he was the first to arrive on the scene of a cardiac emergency, but it is beneficial to have the training just in case.

“You never know when you might have to use it,” he said. “It could potentially save somebody’s life.”

According to a news release from DHHS, studies conducted by the American Heart Association demonstrate a significantly higher rate of survival for cardiac patients defibrillated by law enforcement, who are generally first on the scene, especially in rural areas.

AEDs are portable devices used to diagnose and treat sudden cardiac arrest through defibrillation, which re-establishes an effective heart rhythm. The AEDs selected for distribution feature technology that reduces pauses during CPR to improve blood circulation and odds of survival. The devices also can use wi-fi to send near real-time information about a patient’s heart to emergency services as another way to improve evaluation and care.

lbeahm / Laura Beahm/Tribune  

Erik Holt with Stryker presents AED training for area law enforcement Tuesday morning at Hastings Police Department.

The Hastings training session was one of 23 being conducted across the state from May 17 to June 25. Distribution of the AEDs is planned to conclude in 2022.

Eleven agencies in the Tribland area received AED devices, including:

Adams County Sheriff’s Office: 17

Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office: 7

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office: 5

Harvard Police Department: 2

Hastings Police Department: 18

Hildreth Police Department: 1

Kearney County Sheriff’s Office: 7

Minden Police Department: 4

Nuckolls County Sheriff’s Office: 6

Superior Police Department: 4

Webster County Sheriff’s Office: 6


News
Remains of WWII soldier returned to Giltner
  • Updated

GILTNER — In telling the story of Lyle Reab and his sacrifice, Chaplain Zach Brueningsen and historian Terri Mabon each offered Reab a welcome home.

Brueningsen and Mabon were the two speakers during a graveside service for Reab Tuesday afternoon at the Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner. The service included military honors conducted by a detail of soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, and American Legion Riders.

Reab’s remains were interred in the family plot — relocated from an unknown soldier grave in Ardennes American Cemetery at Neupré, Belgium — and placed alongside those of his parents, Willis Harry and Daisy, in the cemetery.

Reab, 22, an only child, was killed in a foxhole on the southeastern end of Vossenack, Germany, in November 1944. Vossenack is in the Hurtgen Forest near the Germany-Belgium border and was the scene of intense fighting between U.S. and German forces in the fall of 1944.

“To describe the moment in which we are in right now: Burial, committal, memorial? All those things are true,” Brueningsen said. “As a feel though, a welcome home is also appropriate.”

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune  

Chaplain Zach Brueningsen presents the American flag to Dale Croxen, Lyle Reab’s oldest living relative, during the graveside service Tuesday at Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner.

While Giltner waited for news after Reab was missing, eventually it was determined he and many others had been killed.

“This isn’t just a young man that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Brueningsen said. “This wasn’t just the loss of our nation’s most valuable treasure, the blood of our service members. This was the only way we would ever know the U.S. what it is today. In no way would our lives be the same without D-Day, Normandy and the battle for Hurtgen Forest. The Axis Powers were some of the greatest evils in the history of the world, and it cost a mother and a father a son, along with countless others. It cost his ability to have his own family, to carry his family name. God knows how many sleepless years his parents experienced.”

Brueningsen said Reab’s parents experienced a lifetime of heartache.

“I wish I could hug them and thank them, but I cannot,” he said. “I can only recognize how important this moment is for all who see and hear it. I pray to God every one of us contemplate the cost of a whole generation of people who worked harder with much less pay, so that we could have our freedom intact.”

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune  

Chaplain Zach Brueningsen salutes the remains of Lyle Reab during the graveside service Tuesday at Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner.

He said the world today would be very different if not for the countless men and women like Reab who gave their lives to stop the Axis Powers.

“We are not great without the sacrifices of giants that have gone ahead of us,” he said. “Like many others, he answered the call.”

Mabon, who lives at Phillips, spoke of how Reab’s name was listed on the Netherlands American Cemetery’s Wall of the Missing at Margraten, the Netherlands, and he was “adopted” by Netherlands resident Ron Busschers through a grave-tending program.

While conducting internet searches for additional information on the fallen soldier, Busschers discovered an article claiming Reab’s remains were interred in Nebraska. Knowing such wasn’t the case, he contacted Mabon, a member of the same genealogical society that posted the article.

Combing through numerous newspaper clippings at the Plainsman Museum in Aurora, Mabon learned that the location of Reab’s remains was, in fact, unknown.

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune  

Terri Mabon reads an account of the recovery of Lyle Reab’s remains and his journey to his final resting place in Giltner during the graveside service for the fallen soldier Tuesday.

According to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Reab’s remains were recovered from the foxhole site in March 1948 by the American Graves Registration Command and were buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in 1949, but were not positively identified until recently. After an historian with the accounting agency determined the possible identity of the remains, they were disinterred in June 2018 and were sent to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, where scientists used dental and anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and Y chromosome DNA analysis to eventually obtain a positive identification.

Reab’s family members and many others wanting to honor his life filled the Lerton Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire trucks held American flags high along the road leading to the cemetery.

“I was really pleased,” Mabon said after the service. “I thought it was a very nice welcome for Lyle after these years. I think his parents were probably smiling down at the whole group. I’m glad so many people came out to celebrate his memory and his returning home.”

Among those in crowd was Laury Riley of Bend, Oregon. She grew up in the area and was back visiting family, including her sister Paula Consbruck, who lives in Giltner.

“I thought it was very moving,” Riley said. “It was very emotional. I didn’t know anything about the family, but I was moved.”

David Bye of Guernsey, Wyoming was among Reab’s family members in attendance during the service.

Reab was the nephew of Bye’s great-grandmother.

“It was great,” Bye said. “It was very awesome. It was appropriate for the situation. It was just an honor to be here and be a part of it as a family member.”

Bye is a 36-year veteran with the Wyoming Army Guard and a full-time technician at Camp Guernsey.

He was impressed by attendance at the service.

“It’s just a testimony to the patriotism that the folks have in Nebraska and the country; the turnout for one of our own coming home,” he said.

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune/  

Members of the Army National Guard carry the remains of Lyle Reab to his final resting place Tuesday at Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner.

Bye told a family story about a time when, as a 5-year-old boy, Reab won a small Christmas cactus, which he gave to his mother.

“I think she really cherished that through the years,” Bye said. “That plant is still living and alive today.”

Bye’s father has a Christmas cactus that started from that original plant.

“It’s a great, big Christmas cactus and he’s made starters and given them to all the family,” Bye said. “Something Lyle did when he was 5 years old is still in existence today, living.”

There were several family members at the service Bye had never met.

“It’s just nice to get out and meet others and meet some family I never knew existed, really,” he said.

One family member he has kept in touch with is Frank Detamore of rural Giltner. Detamore’s grandmother was Reab’s aunt.

“I thought everything turned out nice,” Detamore said. “All the people that drove miles to come here and give their last thoughts for Lyle, I think is absolutely tremendous.”

Detamore served in Army special forces two years during Vietnam.

“It’ll be fun to meet a lot of them that neither one of us know,” Detamore said, referring also to Bye. “He might know one I don’t and vice versa.”


News
'Mr. Nebraska' remembered for his devotion to Hastings community
  • Updated

For all his many accolades, perhaps the things those who knew Don Reynolds best for will be his love of Hastings, the state of Nebraska, and his fellow man.

Reynolds, 85, a U.S. Army veteran who served during the Berlin Crisis, died June 4 at Bryan West Medical Center in Lincoln. A celebration of his life is set for 3:30-6 p.m. June 10 at Kitty’s Roadhouse, 1400 E. South St.

The husband of Jeanne Reynolds and father of Molly Johnsen and Tom Reynolds, he became a familiar face in the community while executing his duties as president of the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce from 1987-2002.

A community fixture who frequented local sporting events and golf courses, his activism in the community included stints on multiple boards and advisory committees, including Grow Nebraska, Grand Island Council For International Visitors, Goodwill Industries and United Way. A longtime member of First Presbyterian Church in Hastings, he served on the church’s Board of Deacons and stewardship committee.

“He did a lot of good for the community, a genuine good man,” said Dee Haussler, former executive director of the Hastings Economic Development Corp., who worked closely with Reynolds for more than a dozen years in the old office building the chamber and HEDC shared on West Fifth Street in the late 1980s through early 2000s. “Don was one of those guys who was easy to be around. He worked hard in support of the team.

“He never just thought of himself. He was always looking out for the best interests of the people around him. He was very supportive of the community and a good friend.”

USA Softball of Nebraska Commissioner Joe Patterson worked closely with Reynolds while serving as city administrator. The two men collaborated on multiple events, including the annual Cottonwood Festival. Reynolds also assisted Patterson by guiding weekend tours of the Hastings Softball Museum during softball tournament weekends.

“Don was a very positive person and a pleasure to be around,” Patterson said. “He was very committed to the Hastings community and certainly will be missed.

“I saw him as a Steady Eddie. He was always there at events and just really a huge promoter for our community and well respected around the state for his work. His engagement in different things in the community will be missed.”

Former Minden Mayor Roger Jones was president of South Platte United Chambers of Commerce board during Reynolds’ time as chamber president in the 1970s-1990s. In his opinion, few people have worked harder for the betterment of Hastings and state of Nebraska.

“I will always remember him as Mr. Nebraska,” Jones said. “He absolutely loved the state and South Platte region. If there was something that happened that was positive in Hastings and this region, it was probably something he was involved in for sure.

“Don was always willing to pitch in. If he could do anything to promote the state of Nebraska and Hastings to make them better he was right there to do it. He was always promoting.”

Reynolds grew up on a farm near Palmer and graduated from St. Paul High School in 1953. He received a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln in 1957. He married Jeanne Welsh July 30, 1965.

He came to Hastings from Grand Island where he worked primarily in banking, farm lending and financial services.

Following his time with the Hastings chamber, Reynolds served a stint as executive director of the South Platte United Chambers.

Survivors include Jeanne; daughter Molly and son-in-law Tom Johnsen of Hastings; son Tom of Brooklyn, New York; and one brother, Dale of Gig Harbor, Washington.


News
'Special' Milligan celebration making up for lost time
  • Updated

MILLIGAN — It’s that festive time of the year when one can “let go” and head to Milligan for an exciting weekend of events at the 33rd annual June Jubilee.

Due to the cancellation of the 2020 event for public health reasons, one can expect “Twice the Fun in 2021,” which happens to be this year’s parade theme.

The celebration runs Friday through Sunday.

Going along with the theme, the Becwar and Associates Entertainment Agency of Lincoln and the Milligan Community Club are making the Jubilee extra “special” this year by bringing in rock bands 38 Special and Jack Russell’s Great White — two headliners for the price of one that will be performing Friday evening.

Gayle Becwar, entertainer and owner of Becwar and Associates, said this concert is guaranteed to be an exciting evening, for a third band will get the action started.

“With a great sound and light show, 38 Special (who played Milligan in 2016 and back by popular demand) is better than before and even plays longer than most bands, with a 96-minute, high-energy show of one hit after another,” he said. “Through the years, both groups have retained their original lead singers. And with the Forgotten Highway Band, which has opened for over 100 starts, the free parking and the ability to walk close up to the stage, this concert will not only be a great time, but also a great value.”

The superstar Southern rock band 38 Special has three No. 1 hits and 13 Top 10 songs like “Hold On Loosely,” ”Rockin’ Into the Night” and “Back Where You Belong.” The band also crosses over to country.

Jack Russell’s Great White top songs include “Once Bitten Twice Shy” and “Rock Me.” And the Midwestern country music group Forgotten Highway, originating in 2015, features country, rock and classic music.

Milligan Community Club President Eric Johnson, who works at KZ 100 Radio, interviewed the original lead singer from 38 Special, Don Barnes, and also original lead singer Jack Russell from Great White.

“Both artists were so nice to interview and are both looking forward to coming to Milligan,” Johnson said. “38 Special’s Don Barnes mentioned they have added a new guitar player to their band that has to be seen to believe.”

Johnson said it takes a lot of work putting a concert of this size together and expressed thanks to all the people who have come to the small town and to all those who have volunteered to help.

New attractions to the June Jubilee event include miniature golf, Horn T Zoo Wildlife Exhibit and a 50/50 raffle where only a limited number of tickets are sold with the winner and Community Club each receiving half.

The celebration kicks off Friday at 8 a.m. with a tractor drive and Centennial Garden opening at 6 p.m. Forgotten Highway will perform at 7 p.m., Jack Russell’s Great White at 8 p.m. and 38 Special at 10 p.m.

Main attractions Saturday include the antique tractor pull, pork supper, bingo and more music offerings.

Sunday’s grand parade, themed “Twice the Fun in 2021,” is at 1:30 p.m. The seventh annual kolache-eating contest is at 3 p.m.

Johnson said there are lots of fun activities for all ages and everyone should come to the event.

“Music and togetherness has been away from us a whole year, so now is the time to welcome everyone back with open arms,” he said. “We need to make up for lost ground.”

Here’s the hourly schedule of events. In case of inclement weather, some of the activities may be moved inside the Milligan Auditorium.

Friday

8 a.m.: Tractor drive line-up

9 a.m.: Tractor drive leaving Milligan

6 p.m.: Centennial Garden opens with various food stands east of the garden and designated area for lawn chairs

7 p.m. Forgotten Highway Band in concert

8 p.m.: Jack Russell’s Great White Band in concert

10 p.m. 38 Special in concert

Saturday

8 a.m.: Rooster Run Registration (5k and 1k) (Main Street)

8 a.m.: Co-ed softball tournament

8:30 a.m.: Rooster Run start

9 a.m.: United Methodist Country Store serving breakfast at Sixth and N streets

9 a.m.: 11th annual Pork Rib Cook Off (Centennial Garden)

9 a.m.: Sand volleyball tournament (Centennial Garden)

9 a.m.: Car Show registration (Main Street). Display starts at noon. Trophies awarded at 4:30 p.m.

10:30 a.m.: Road rally registration (South Main Street)

11 a.m.: Centennial Garden opens

11 a.m.: Tractor pull weigh-in (west of garden)

1-4 p.m.: Bingo (American Legion Hall)

2-6 p.m.: Music by Angie Kriz and the Polkatoons

3:30 p.m.: Pork ribs judging

4:30-6:30 p.m.: Pork supper served

5 p.m.: Catholic Mass, St. Wenceslaus Church, Seventh and Main streets

5-8 p.m.: Music in the Garden by “EJ the DJ”

8 p.m to midnight: Music by High Heel

Sunday

8 a.m.: Co-ed softball tournament continues

8:30 a.m.: Catholic Mass, St. Wenceslaus Church

9-11 a.m.: Catholic Church breakfast featuring music by The Polka Dudes

9:15 a.m.: United Methodist Church service, Sixth and N streets

10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Parade line-up, Ninth and N streets

11 a.m..: Centennial Garden opens with music by The Polka Dudes

1 p.m.: Judging of parade entries

1:30 p.m.: The grand parade: “Twice the Fun in 2021”

Following the parade: Music by Wilber Alumni Band in Centennial Garden; main street activities including miniature golf and bounce house, Dozer game, rock wall, target game and Horn T Zoo wildlife exhibit

3 p.m.: Kids’ pedal pull

3 p.m.: Seventh annual kolache-eating contest (Centennial Garden)

3:30 p.m.: Music by Milligan Czech Brass Band (Centennial Garden)

All afternoon: Papa Bear Carvings (west of stage)

5-7 p.m.: Pork supper (American Legion Hall)

5:30 p.m.: Music by The Chelewski Boys

7 p.m.: Drawing for 50/50 raffle (need not be present to win)


News
Remains of WWII soldier returned to Giltner
  • Updated

GILTNER — In telling the story of Lyle Reab and his sacrifice, Chaplain Zach Brueningsen and historian Terri Mabon each offered Reab a welcome home.

Brueningsen and Mabon were the two speakers during a graveside service for Reab Tuesday afternoon at the Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner. The service included military honors conducted by a detail of soldiers from Fort Riley, Kansas, and American Legion Riders.

Reab’s remains were interred in the family plot — relocated from an unknown soldier grave in Ardennes American Cemetery at Neupré, Belgium — and placed alongside those of his parents, Willis Harry and Daisy, in the cemetery.

Reab, 22, an only child, was killed in a foxhole on the southeastern end of Vossenack, Germany, in November 1944. Vossenack is in the Hurtgen Forest near the Germany-Belgium border and was the scene of intense fighting between U.S. and German forces in the fall of 1944.

“To describe the moment in which we are in right now: Burial, committal, memorial? All those things are true,” Brueningsen said. “As a feel though, a welcome home is also appropriate.”

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune  

Chaplain Zach Brueningsen presents the American flag to Dale Croxen, Lyle Reab’s oldest living relative, during the graveside service Tuesday at Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner.

While Giltner waited for news after Reab was missing, eventually it was determined he and many others had been killed.

“This isn’t just a young man that paid the ultimate sacrifice,” Brueningsen said. “This wasn’t just the loss of our nation’s most valuable treasure, the blood of our service members. This was the only way we would ever know the U.S. what it is today. In no way would our lives be the same without D-Day, Normandy and the battle for Hurtgen Forest. The Axis Powers were some of the greatest evils in the history of the world, and it cost a mother and a father a son, along with countless others. It cost his ability to have his own family, to carry his family name. God knows how many sleepless years his parents experienced.”

Brueningsen said Reab’s parents experienced a lifetime of heartache.

“I wish I could hug them and thank them, but I cannot,” he said. “I can only recognize how important this moment is for all who see and hear it. I pray to God every one of us contemplate the cost of a whole generation of people who worked harder with much less pay, so that we could have our freedom intact.”

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune  

Chaplain Zach Brueningsen salutes the remains of Lyle Reab during the graveside service Tuesday at Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner.

He said the world today would be very different if not for the countless men and women like Reab who gave their lives to stop the Axis Powers.

“We are not great without the sacrifices of giants that have gone ahead of us,” he said. “Like many others, he answered the call.”

Mabon, who lives at Phillips, spoke of how Reab’s name was listed on the Netherlands American Cemetery’s Wall of the Missing at Margraten, the Netherlands, and he was “adopted” by Netherlands resident Ron Busschers through a grave-tending program.

While conducting internet searches for additional information on the fallen soldier, Busschers discovered an article claiming Reab’s remains were interred in Nebraska. Knowing such wasn’t the case, he contacted Mabon, a member of the same genealogical society that posted the article.

Combing through numerous newspaper clippings at the Plainsman Museum in Aurora, Mabon learned that the location of Reab’s remains was, in fact, unknown.

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune  

Terri Mabon reads an account of the recovery of Lyle Reab’s remains and his journey to his final resting place in Giltner during the graveside service for the fallen soldier Tuesday.

According to a news release from the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, Reab’s remains were recovered from the foxhole site in March 1948 by the American Graves Registration Command and were buried in the Ardennes American Cemetery in 1949, but were not positively identified until recently. After an historian with the accounting agency determined the possible identity of the remains, they were disinterred in June 2018 and were sent to Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, where scientists used dental and anthropological analysis, circumstantial evidence and Y chromosome DNA analysis to eventually obtain a positive identification.

Reab’s family members and many others wanting to honor his life filled the Lerton Cemetery on Tuesday afternoon.

Fire trucks held American flags high along the road leading to the cemetery.

“I was really pleased,” Mabon said after the service. “I thought it was a very nice welcome for Lyle after these years. I think his parents were probably smiling down at the whole group. I’m glad so many people came out to celebrate his memory and his returning home.”

Among those in crowd was Laury Riley of Bend, Oregon. She grew up in the area and was back visiting family, including her sister Paula Consbruck, who lives in Giltner.

“I thought it was very moving,” Riley said. “It was very emotional. I didn’t know anything about the family, but I was moved.”

David Bye of Guernsey, Wyoming was among Reab’s family members in attendance during the service.

Reab was the nephew of Bye’s great-grandmother.

“It was great,” Bye said. “It was very awesome. It was appropriate for the situation. It was just an honor to be here and be a part of it as a family member.”

Bye is a 36-year veteran with the Wyoming Army Guard and a full-time technician at Camp Guernsey.

He was impressed by attendance at the service.

“It’s just a testimony to the patriotism that the folks have in Nebraska and the country; the turnout for one of our own coming home,” he said.

aroh / Amy Roh/Tribune/  

Members of the Army National Guard carry the remains of Lyle Reab to his final resting place Tuesday at Lerton Cemetery south of Giltner.

Bye told a family story about a time when, as a 5-year-old boy, Reab won a small Christmas cactus, which he gave to his mother.

“I think she really cherished that through the years,” Bye said. “That plant is still living and alive today.”

Bye’s father has a Christmas cactus that started from that original plant.

“It’s a great, big Christmas cactus and he’s made starters and given them to all the family,” Bye said. “Something Lyle did when he was 5 years old is still in existence today, living.”

There were several family members at the service Bye had never met.

“It’s just nice to get out and meet others and meet some family I never knew existed, really,” he said.

One family member he has kept in touch with is Frank Detamore of rural Giltner. Detamore’s grandmother was Reab’s aunt.

“I thought everything turned out nice,” Detamore said. “All the people that drove miles to come here and give their last thoughts for Lyle, I think is absolutely tremendous.”

Detamore served in Army special forces two years during Vietnam.

“It’ll be fun to meet a lot of them that neither one of us know,” Detamore said, referring also to Bye. “He might know one I don’t and vice versa.”


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