Friday, October 14, 2011
sponsored by

From left: T.J. Cosgrove and Merlin Horath of the Elks Charitable Trust; Bob Jeckel, Oasis president; and Wally Reifsteck, van committee chair.

Woods Foundation and community put Oasis members back on the road

Send a link to a friend

[October 14, 2011]  The Oasis Senior Center in Lincoln has operated a van for its membership for several years. It is used to transport members to places and events in the community as well as occasional out-of-town events. 

Earlier this year, the Oasis board recognized that the van they had was going to have to be replaced, but they believed they had a little time to accomplish the task.   

However, in July, the van developed some serious issues, and it became apparent that replacement was going to have to come sooner rather than later. 

A committee was formed and fundraising efforts began.   

Thursday the monthly potluck at the Oasis Senior Center was a special occasion as executive directory Dominic Dalpoas announced that the fundraising goal for the new transportation van has been reached. In addition, the van has been ordered and is scheduled to be delivered next week. 

Dalpoas began by acknowledging the special guests in the room, including Dawn Gross and representatives from the Eagles Ladies Auxiliary, which donated $1,176 to the Oasis this year and has pledged to offer additional support to the Oasis next year. 

He recognized T.J. Cosgrove and Merlin Horath of the Elks. The Elks Charitable Trust contributed $5,000 to the bus fund.   

Finally he acknowledged the Woods Foundation, which was represented by its directors, saying the foundation has done some wonderful things for the people of Logan County. The Woods Foundation offered a matching grant to the Oasis, which in effect cut the amount needed ($52,000) to purchase a new bus in half.

Dalpoas also acknowledged all the Oasis members who served on the van committee and introduced Wally Reifsteck, who led the drive. 

Reifsteck spoke, saying the Oasis board met on June 19 and determined they were going to have to have a new van. The plan then was to start working toward raising money so they could do something by the fall. 

However, in July, the existing van broke down, and they realized that they were not going to be able to wait. They had to do something as quickly as possible. 

Reifsteck said that on July 14 they had zero dollars; just a week later they had accumulated $2,570; by August they had doubled the fund; and by the end of August they had $15,000. By Sept. 8, they had accumulated $25,000, due in part to the generous donation from the Elks Charitable Trust. 

Reifsteck said nine groups gave a total of $9,500, and 262 individuals gave an average donation of $80 each.

He told the group that Peggy's Place bakery and Fat Boys Barbeque had also volunteered to do a fundraiser for the van at the end of October. However, Reifsteck said that after they had met the goal, the committee felt they should not continue asking for money, so they canceled that fundraiser. He told the group that anyone who had purchased their tickets for the October fundraiser could turn them back in for a full refund. 

Bob Jeckel, president of the Oasis board, spoke briefly, thanking all the people who over the years have supported all the fundraisers for the Oasis. 

Bill Bates was called to speak, representing the Woods Foundation. He said that everything the foundation does is done in the name of Bob and Joann Woods. He spoke of their generosity and the intent of the foundation they created to continue their philanthropy, assisting those in need locally. 

Bates said he wanted to recount the history of how the foundation got involved with the van project. 

"A day in July, I happened to be looking at LDN as I do every morning when I start my day, and I saw that there was a van campaign contemplated by the senior citizens center because your van had broken. I shot an email off to the other directors and said, 'Take a look at this article on LDN. I think this is something we could help with.'" 

[to top of second column]

Bates said that for the next half-hour, the four directors talked via email about this. While this was going on, Bates' secretary came in and laid an application from the Oasis on his desk. He asked if Dalpoas was still there and was told no, he had dropped off the application and left. 

"I picked up the phone and called him right away because I found it such a coincidence that we had already started talking among ourselves as directors about wanting to help with this project, and I no sooner got off my computer than he had a grant application on my desk. I called him, and he had this very hesitant tone when he answered the phone, and I said, 'I've got your application, and we were already talking about that.' He said, 'I thought you were going to tell me you were out of money for this year.'" 

The agreement with the Woods Foundation was that they would match dollar for dollar all the money the Oasis raised for the van. However, Bates said that in the end, the foundation directors were so impressed with the work done by the Oasis that they decided to do more than was asked of them. 

He said, "We were impressed beyond belief with the generosity of the community and this organization towards the van, so we made a further decision that we wanted to increase the offer so this organization would have a fund for what we call reserve and replacement or maintenance." 

Bates said he was pleased to present the Oasis with a check for $51,250, which was the match, plus an additional $21,000. 

Jeckel accepted the check and thanked the Woods Foundation. He also said that he thought everyone knew the result of the Oasis efforts should be contributed to "forces more than just us working on this." 


Dalpoas also expressed appreciation for everyone who helped. He recounted a story of a senior coming to him with a donation from the heart.   

"I had a person come to my office in the midst of the campaign and said, 'Ever since I heard that you had to buy a new van, I've been saving money.'" Dalpoas said this was an elderly person, but the money saved was a check for $100. "It really struck me that an individual would think that much of this organization and this campaign, to save money, to give to others for a van. It was touching. Those are the kind of folks we have in Logan County, and that is why we are what we are here," he said. 

The new bus is expected to arrive in Lincoln next week. The Oasis will celebrate their achievement again on Oct. 30, when they host a bus open house for the community. Everyone is invited to come out that day and see what their donations have done for the seniors of the Oasis. 


< Top Stories index

Back to top


News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching and Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries

Community | Perspectives | Law and Courts | Leisure Time | Spiritual Life | Health and Fitness | Teen Scene
Calendar | Letters to the Editor