Established in 1982 by the NEBRASKAland Foundation, the award recognizes Nebraskans who have made significant contributions to their communities and the State of Nebraska.
Past honorees include Tom Osborne (1982), V.J. Skutt (1984), Gerald Ford (1987) and Father Val Peter (2005), among manty others.
“This is the most significant award of its kind, and honoring such accomplished individuals annually is one of the greatest pleasures of the NEBRASKAland Foundation,” said Allen Beermann, executive director, Nebraska Press Association and co-founder of the award.
Honorees were celebrated at a ceremony in the rotunda of the State Capitol in Lincoln, with awards presented by Governor Pete Ricketts and Speaker Jim Scheer.
“It is nights like this where we take time out to celebrate the work of Nebraskans for Nebraska, that give me renewed hope about our future,” Brown, president and CEO, Greater Omaha Chamber, said in his acceptance speech. “It has been an honor to work side by side with business and community leaders across the state who are proud of the communities we live in.”
About the Honorees
The careers of Jim and Susanne Blue have centered on helping the needy in Southeast Nebraska. Jim joined Youth Service System in 1991 and became President and CEO when Youth Services System and CEDARS Inc. merged to form CEDARS Youth Services. Susanne is executive director, Matt Talbot Kitchen and Outreach, which provides hunger relief, housing, case management, substance abuse counseling, and nutrition programming.
David G. Brown is president and CEO of the Greater Omaha Chamber, one of the largest, most highly accredited chambers in the nation and the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives’ (ACCE) 2015 Chamber of the Year. Brown also leads the Greater Omaha Economic Development Partnership, a coalition of seven Eastern Nebraska counties that has successfully landed more than 850 projects, catalyzed more than 40,000 Nebraska jobs and resulted in more than $11 billion in capital investment since 2004. David and his wife Maggie have been married for 37 years, and have two sons, Gregory and Elijah.
Keith and Doris Olsen and their son Jeff operate a no-till, dry land farm raising wheat, dry peas and corn. In 2013, the Nebraska Crop Improvement Association recognized them for raising certified seed for 30 years. Keith served as Nebraska Farm Bureau Federation President from August 2002 to December 2011. He traveled on international trade missions with Nebraska Governors and with the American Farm Bureau Federation meeting with foreign officials and farmers to promote opening new markets for Nebraska farmers and ranchers. Keith and Doris use their shared passion for agriculture by being involved with FFA, 4-H and the Nebraska Agriculture in the Classroom program