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Oasis breaks ground on new walking track

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[June 21, 2016]  On Thursday morning a crowd gathered in the community room at the Oasis Senior Center, there to witness the groundbreaking on the new walking track located behind the Senior Center building. At the invitation of Oasis Director Dom Dalpoas, all went outside for a brief period.

Manning shovels were Dave Campbell, Bob Parrish, and Tonita Reifsteck. The three were joined by Mayor Marty Neitzel and Alderwoman Jonie Tibbs representing the city of Lincoln, and the board members present from the Oasis. Among those was Rick Hoefle, who is also an alderman for the city of Lincoln.

After posing for several photos, the group returned to the comfort of the Community Room for a short program.

Dalpoas began by speaking about the goal of the Oasis to provide for the needs of the senior community.

He said that the track was coming together, with construction to begin on Monday, June 20th and hopefully be done before the first part of July. It was noted that there had been weather delays in getting the project started, and that the Oasis had first hoped to start the track in April.

Dalpoas went on to introduce and explain who the people were that had manned the shovels. He said Bob Parrish was there as the President of the Oasis Board. Dave Campbell was there representing the Elks Charitable Trust.

He went on to say that the late T.J. Cosgrove was very dedicated to helping the Oasis rebuild and as a representative of the Elks had helped guide the Elks to supporting the automated doors. Cosgrove had asked what more the Elks could do, and at that time the track was just an idea, but even then, Cosgrove committed the Elks would help with that project. After T.J. had passed away, Campbell continued with the cause and made sure the Elks did give its financial support to the project.

Dalpoas moved into talking about the day the Oasis lost its downtown building to fire. He recalled standing beside then board President Wally Reifsteck watching smoke billow from the building. He noted that at first, he thought it was only smoke, the building could and would be saved. But then he remembered the moment when flames lept through the roof of the building, and his immediate knowledge that this was a fire that would do devastating damage.

Dalpoas said as he stood beside Reifsteck he commented to Wally that this was a telling moment. They could go home and say okay it is all over, or they could do something better than has been done. Wally turned to him and simply said, “We’ll make it better.” The decision was made at that moment the Oasis would raise from the ashes and would be better than it had ever been.

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Dalpoas said Wally had been a great leader and then and since his death last year, his wife Tonita, and his family have continued working to “make it better.”

The microphone was then handed off to Tonita Reifsteck. She commented that in 1986 Wally had six by-passes. He was told that the work would last ten years and that he needed to exercise. Reifsteck said her husband walked daily and exercised, and because of this his by-passes lasted more than 25 years. She said the track was a vision of Wally, and the family decided that they would support the track construction as a memorial to Wallace Reifsteck.

Campbell spoke for the Elks and said the organization was proud to assist with the construction of the track. He said the Elks were very supportive of the Senior Center and would continue to be, so if there were future needs, the Oasis should let them know, and they will do what they can to help.

Bob Parrish was the last to speak, welcoming everyone who was on hand for joining in the celebration. He noted again the postponing of the construction to this point. He also said this was to be a big addition for the people of the Oasis as well as anyone else who wished to use it.

The guests were encouraged to stay and visit and enjoy donuts donated by Mellow Cream.

[Nila Smith]

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