NSHS awards honorees, from left to right: David Levy, Rebecca Anderson, John Swigart, Nancy Gillis, Sen. Jerry Johnson, Sen. Jeremy Nordquist, Dr. LuAnn Wandsnider, Dr. Christopher Dore, and Barry Jurgensen.
On Friday, October 17th the NSHS held its 136th Annual Members’ Meeting and Awards Presentation in downtown Lincoln, Nebraska.
Following a brief meeting led by NSHS Board President Dee Adams, the Society honored a number of Nebraska’s prominent history makers through the distribution of annual awards:
The Asa T. Hill Award, for outstanding work in Great Plains archeology, was presented to Dr. Christopher Dore, John Swigart, and Dr. LuAnn Wandsnider. They were honored for the time and energy they devoted to developing a digital mapping GIS (Geographic Information System) of all archeological sites – over 10,000! – and areas of investigation for the entire state of Nebraska. The GIS has proven to be a remarkably useful spatial tool for archeological research and cultural resource management. This was also the first GIS of its kind in the nation!
The Nebraska Preservation Award, for significant achievement in the preservation of Nebraska’s historic places, was presented to David Levy, an Omaha attorney who spearheaded the effort to enact LB 191 (2014), which established the Nebraska Job Creation and Mainstreet Revitalization Act and created a Nebraska Rehabilitation Tax Credit (NRTC) program. A registered lobbyist, he provided his services pro bono through three sessions of the Legislature.
The Addison E. Sheldon Memorial Award, for significant achievement in the interpretation and preservation of history, was presented to Nancy Gillis, in honor of her years of service as director of the John G. Neihardt Historic Site in Bancroft, Nebraska and her continued work to protect and teach the history of Native Nebraskans.
The James L. Sellers Memorial Award, for an outstanding contribution published in Nebraska History, was presented to Rebecca J. Anderson for her article, “Grandma Gabel, she brought Ralph: Midwifery and the Lincoln, Nebraska Department of Health in the Early Twentieth Century.”
The James C. Olson Memorial Award, for inspiring and guiding K-12 students to discover and learn from the histories that Nebraskans share, was presented to Barry Jurgensen of Arlington Public Schools. While at APS, Mr. Jurgensen has instituted the Forever Free Project, in which students in his honors history class research and nominate sites associated with the Underground Railroad to the National Park Service’s Network to Freedom. You can read about Mr. Jurgensen and his students in this recent article from the Journal Star.
Finally, the Champion of Nebraska History Award, for conspicuous service in the public arena in support of the mission of the NSHS, was presented to Senator Jerry Johnson and Senator Jeremy Nordquist. Senators Johnson and Nordquist were both instrumental in the passage of LB 191 (2014), which enacted the Nebraska Rehabilitation Tax Credit (NRTC).
Senator Johnson named the bill as his priority in the second session of the 103rd Legislature. That priority status was essential to ensure consideration of LB 191 by the full body which led to its passing. Senator Nordquist was the primary guide and negotiator with his fellow Senators in the Legislature, providing a remarkable example of a committed champion for preservation. Through his tireless work, LB191 was passed with 45 votes in support and no votes in opposition. The resulting statute is testimony to his efforts.
The NSHS offers its thanks and congratulations to this year’s honorees!