Each year, the two aldermen from each ward put their heads together
and discuss who in their ward has gone above and beyond to
contribute to their community and make Lincoln as a whole a better
place to live through their various efforts.
At the last meeting of the year, the aldermen speak briefly about
their choices and then honor each of those four people with a wall
plaque naming them a Lincoln Citizen of the Year. Mayor Snyder also
selects a citizen, and that person becomes the fifth honoree of the
This week, the process began with the Ward 1 selection. The
aldermen for Ward 1 are Melody Anderson and Bruce Carmitchel.
Anderson began: "Ward 1 has nominated for their Citizen of the
Year this year Steve Allen, who is not only a resident of Ward 1 but
also works in Ward 1. He is the housing director for the Logan
County Housing Authority.
"From reports that I get from individuals that live there, he
does a great job, not only maintaining the facility but taking care
of the residents as well.
"In addition to that," Anderson said, "Steve has been an active
participant since the inception of the community gardens on College
Street. Again, some of those that are on the front line with him say
he takes great pride in the garden and is very active and has
continued that activity every summer since they have brought it to
"We would like to recognize Steve as our Citizen of the Year,"
In Ward 2, the aldermen are Kathy Horn and David Wilmert. Wilmert
introduced the Ward 2 Citizen of the Year:
"This year Ward 2 recognizes someone who has worked behind the
scenes for many years. (She is) someone who makes a difference
outside the spotlight. She is the person who quietly donates of her
own time and resources through church to provide meals and care
packages for the needy. She is someone who has served over 36 years
in the Zonta Club in just about every volunteer capacity there is.
"She is the name and face behind countless work efforts to
improve and beautify just about every project she comes in contact
with. If there is a tree that needs decorating to raise funds at
Festival of Trees time, you can bet that she is there to do several.
And hers have been known to raise over $2,700 just for one tree."
"This magic touch has been known to make people feel better as
well. Just ask the people who benefited from her efforts as part of
the Look Good Feel Better program for patients battling cancer."
Wilmert concluded, "Tonight we thank and honor Linda Franz."
In Ward 3, the aldermen are Tom O'Donohue and Jonie Tibbs. This
year their choice of Citizen of the Year was an entire family.
O'Donohue did the honors: "Ward 3 is such a great ward that we
are not just honoring a single person, we are honoring a whole
family this year. The family we are honoring is the Mourning family:
Todd and Linda Mourning along with their children, Tate, Levi and
Hattie. They exemplify the type of community involvement that we
appreciate from families living in Lincoln.
"Like most families, the Mournings have many obligations: jobs,
school, church, sporting events and family life. Yet, they still
find time to give back to the community.
"You can find them volunteering as a family, helping to plant
tulips for the Plant the Town Red project, or helping to beautify
the downtown by painting lamp posts, or pitching in to help maintain
an historic structure by sharing the job of putting on a coat of
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"Todd and Linda are impressing upon their children the
importance of playing an active role and making a positive
difference in their community. The Mournings have been active
participants at Central School and the PTO, along with their
church, and have been co-coordinators of the souvenir tent at
the Art & Balloon Festival."
O'Donohue finished by saying: "It is with honor that Alderman
Tibbs and I award the Mourning family the Citizen of the Year for
In Ward 4, the aldermen are Jeff Hoinacki and Marty Neitzel. This
year they chose to honor a longtime friend of the Neitzel family,
Robert "Bob" Huelskoetter.
Neitzel offered the introduction. "I'm discussing this evening
Robert Huelskoetter," she said.
"Robert Huelskoetter, the first time I met you was when my
husband and I eloped. From that time we became very good friends."
"Bob is very active at the Zion Lutheran Church, as well the
Lutheran Layman's group.
"The second encounter with Bob was when he and his first wife,
Afreda, were with Amway and had a distributorship. We were with them
in the Amway distributorship and bought his products. He was also a
"The third encounter with Bob was when my husband and I bought
our business on Kickapoo Street. Bob came to us and wanted to know
if he could give us an inventory of the items that we would need
every week. He would come and check our inventory and take care of
us in that capacity," she said.
"Bob was with us every week for 25 years until my husband and I
sold our business, and from that time onward until now, which was
another additional 15 years, he has been a small businessman in the
city of Lincoln and surrounding area. He has taken care of the
automotive needs of the city of Lincoln, of the repair shops in
Neitzel concluded: "Jeff and I are very proud to present the
Citizen of the Year for Ward 4 to Bob Huelskoetter."
The last presentation of the night came from Mayor Snyder, who
named as his choice of Citizen of the Year Lincoln Daily News' own
Snyder opened his introduction by saying: "The mayor actually has
an award to make tonight.
"It is going to someone who is very involved in our community.
It's rare that you would ever go anywhere and not see this person at
the event, whatever it might be; there supporting things going on,
being positive, being an encourager, always there to lend her
"She is a promoter of our community in many ways. I think you
could even consider her an ambassador for our community. And, we
have the fortunate honor of having her at all of our meetings. She
covers our meetings the same way she does our community, and that is
completely, accurately and positively."
Snyder continued: "Her husband has the greenest of thumbs, and if
you have not seen their yard, it is indeed a showplace in the city
of Lincoln. So I am honored to present my Citizen of the Year award
to Nila Smith."
After the last plaque presentation, Snyder then wrapped up this
part of the evening by saying: "We are delighted to be able to honor
all the people that we honored tonight. It is only a small piece of
all the great people we have in Lincoln. I appreciate your efforts
to bring those people forward because you all could do it a hundreds
times over in your ward."