THE FIFTIES AND SIXTIES
In the 1950's, the U.S. was involved in a "military action" in Korea. It was an unpopular and puzzling affair. Saunders Co. boys were again called into action. This time the people at home were not involved in the action. Consumer production was not interrupted.
On the heels of the Korean Conflict came the War in Vietnam -- or "police action" as it was called. Violent demonstrations took place and there was widespread dissatisfaction everywhere. Conscientious objectors filled the news and young men fled to Canada rather than face the draft.
But for those who served and fought in Vietnam, the years were full of terror, grief and suffering, perhaps made the more intense by the lack of wholehearted support back home. When the prisoners of war (many had been held for years) were finally released, there was a surge of sympathy throughout the nation. Yet today many believe there are Americans still held behind the "bamboo curtain". As a remembrance of the POW's, many people wore silver bracelets with the serviceman's name and date of disappearance.
KOREAN WAR DEAD
Arnold Havelka -- Prague
VIETNAM WAR DEAD
Edwin A. Kudlacek -- Valparaiso
This list is accurate and complete to the best of our knowledge.
In 1960, John F. Kennedy was elected President. He was the youngest American ever to be elected to that office. The people of Saunders Co. and especially the young, responded favorably to his leadership. As one political observer of the time said, "Americans had confidence in him. They liked what he said and they liked his courage. But most of all they were young again."
Youth took more interest in their government at all levels. Many filed for local offices. They took to heart something that this young president had said at his inauguration. "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."
J.F.K., as he affectionately became known, ushered in the Space Age. By Feb.20, 1962, John Glenn, Jr. in Friendship 7 became the first American astronaut to orbit the earth.
But on Nov.22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was felled by an assassin's bullet in Dallas, Texas. It cut the heart of the nation as it did everyone here in Saunders Co.
The Space Program advanced, and by 1969, Neil A. Armstrong walked on the moon.
SAUNDERS CO. HOSPITAL
Saunders County Community Hospital, operated by a Board of Trustees appointed by the Saunders County Board of Supervisors, opened September 13, 1951. Construction funds were provided by a County Bond Issue, Hill-Burton funds, and civic and community donations. A sunporch and one patient room were added in 1958. The main entrance was enclosed in 1961. An OB addition, containing four obstetrical beds, labor room, delivery room and nursery was added in 1965. An elevator was added the same year. Air conditioning was added in 1967. A vehicle garage was added in 1977. Realignment of existing spaces during the period 1974-1977 provided a new drug room, laboratory, therapy room, exam room, medical records room, two bathrooms, and an additional clean supply room. Renovation of dietary facilities and expansion of parking facilities with new lighting was completed during the same period. The 30-bed facility contains not only in-patient facilities but special function areas for emergency, surgery, recovery, laboratory, x-ray, physical and respiratory therapy. A four-bed hardwire cardiac monitoring plus telemetry and Holter monitoring is available. A fetal monitor is located in the labor room.
Doctors Hinrichs, French and Hansen as well as out-of-town staff members perform surgery. Staff members in the fields of orthopedics, cardiology, pathology and urology schedule regular visits for consultation.
Residents in Family Practice from the University of Nebraska Medical Center assist our physicians in weekend Emergency Room Coverage. We also provide a two-month rural family practice rotation for medical students.
The first baby born there was Denise Lynne Johnson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Johnson.
SAUNDERS COUNTY KIWANIS
The Counseling Center was opened in September, 1971 Originally it was called "The Saunders County Mental Health Clinic" but was later changed to "Counseling Center."
The move toward community based mental health centers, begun in the 1940's, gained momentum in the 1960's. It brought comprehensive community mental health care to all in need within a specific geographic area regardless of ability to pay, and insures continuity of care for all patients. In 1963 the Community Mental Health Act declared: "Each community mental health center will have its own characteristics for it will, or should, reflect the special needs and resources of its area."
Accordingly, in 1970-71, a series of meetings was held in Wahoo with community leaders, welfare workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, school representatives, ministers, county supervisors and other interested persons, under the leadership of persons from the State Department of Public Institutions, to set up a community mental health center.
For the first two years the Clinic staff used the educational wing at Bethlehem Lutheran Church for its weekly counseling sessions. By 1973 it was necessary to expand services to one evening and two days a week, and office space was obtained in the Worrall Building at 120 East 5th St. in Wahoo, where it has remained. Miklos Verhar, M.S.W., Lincoln, headed the first staff, together with students from the University of Nebraska and other staff from Lincoln Regional Center. Funding has been by State and County, plus client fees.
Shortly after the Clinic was opened a Saunders County Mental Health Association was organized to assist in areas of informing and educating the public in mental health care. Local leaders in this organization have been Rev. Daniel Monson, Curtis Bromm, Raymond Nygren, Rev. Philip Rauth, Dr. I.M. French, James Wirka, Mrs. Joe Jonas, Mrs. Lorraine Syverson, Rev. Paul Fiedler, Mr. Kim Benning, plus Clinic staff members. The association has received financial support from Wahoo Community Chest, Valparaiso Community Auctions, and other occasional gifts.
In 1973, the Saunders County Center became a part of the seven-county Pioneer Mental Health Center with head office in Seward, Ne. Staff members work in other counties also, for better use of time and personnel.
Mrs. Dagmar Peterson of Colon has served as secretary-coordinator of the Center since its beginning. Submitted by Dagmar Peterson
Thirty years before the Care Center opened, a few citizens of Saunders County realized that the Poor Farm was no longer serving the needs of the elderly and ill people of our community. Headed by Chauncey Beadle, a petition with 512 signatures, was presented to the Supervisors in 1948, but was rejected because of lack of support and lack of a plan for substitute care for the few people still in the Poor Farm.
Tony Kriz, County Welfare Director, was the first to urge the establishment of a care center to provide for the elderly, regardless of financial need. It was Earl Morin, County Clerk, who was quoted in the Wahoo Newspaper in 1955 as the first person to advocate selling the Poor Farm, using the proceeds as a nucleus for building a care center.
It took years of publicity in the Wahoo Paper, and of speaking to various groups by Tony Kriz and R.C. Johnson, to get this idea on the ballot in November, 1962. It passed by over a three-to-one majority. Soon the Jerry Jasa land adjoining the hospital was donated to the county by the Lions Club for a rest home.
|Saunders County Care Center|
Finally, in 1972, a bond issue for $150,000 was approved by the voters to finance the building of a home. The original Board of Trustees selected were: Carl Mostrom, Joe Perryman, Mrs. Alvin (Wilma) Dvorak, Joe Breunig, and Mrs. Carl (Christine) Nygren. Joe Breunig was elected Chairman. Through the years the supervisors have made changes and Joe Haba, Wayne Sandberg, George Rezac, and John Reid Sr. have replaced former members. Joe Haba has been the chairman since Dec., 1978.
Mr. Orville Willis was employed Sept. 1, 1974 to consult in the building, furnishing and operating of the home. The grand opening was held Mar. 16, 1975 and the doors were opened to residents April 1. By April, 1976, all seventy-five beds were filled, leaving a waiting list. Of the guests to enter the home during its first year, ten are still residing there.
Mr. Willis was replaced as director Nov. 1, 1977 by Mrs. Minnie Olsen who has devoted her life to her residents and staff. She is aided by sixty-seven cheerful full-time and part-time employees, each of whom is responsible for the smooth operation of the home and for the loving care of the residents. Three of the employees have been with the home for five years, three for six years, and five for seven years. The last five have been there since the Care Center was opened.
Cleanliness, activity, comfort, including excellent meals and love, are the foundation of the home. Cheery colors, interesting bulletin boards, a pool table, shuffle board, colored televisions, an aquarium, movies, music, parties, and worship services have all contributed to keeping life interesting. Many individuals and organizations, through generous gifts and hours of personal service, have made this possible.
Each year the residents participate in the Rock-a-thon. Last year they raised eight hundred dollars for the Heart Fund.
In 1982, the Care Center had the distinction of being the only home in Nebraska to receive a deficiency-free rating from the Nebraska State Health Department for two consecutive years.
On February 1, 1978, the Saunders County Youth Service System was established as a community-wide effort in delinquency prevention.
Each year, a large number of young people enter the juvenile justice system for acts that would not bring an adult to trial -- running away, ungovernable, truancy. A substantial number ofjuveniles are also processed by the court for minor offenses that are neither reoccurring nor a serious threat to the community. In addition, it is estimated that roughly one out of eight police contacts with juveniles result in court action. Others are released with a warning with no follow-up provided. It is this type of misconduct that points to the need for alternatives outside the justice system. The Youth Service System provides this alternative.
The Youth Service System acts as an advocate for all youth in Saunders County. Referrals are received from a variety of sources. The most frequent referrals are made by the county attorney, schools, law enforcement agencies, families, or the youths themselves. In four years of operation, twelve hundred youngsters and their families have been served by this agency. There is no charge for services.
Services include short-term individual and family counseling, diversionary program for youthful first-time offenders, crisis intervention, and summer camp for low-income youngsters.
Lynn Ayers served as the agency's first director. Ms. Ayers is from Lincoln and has her degree in law enforcement and criminal justice.
The Wahoo Civic Center, housed in the gymnasium of the old Wahoo High School building on Broad Linden Street between 3rd and 4th Streets, sponsors various youth programs throughout the year. At present, our largest programs are the summer baseball/softball leagues for boys and girls, and our gymnastics program which is offered from fall to spring for all ages. There are 60 girls and 5 boys enrolled in the gymnastics program this year.
Other programs include flag football, basketball (boys and girls), floor hockey (boys and girls), and soccer (boys and girls).
The Center also sponsors two new programs, which are in their second year with a surprisingly good response. Tiny Tot Play Hour on Fridays from 10 to 11 for children 3 to 5 years presently has 15 children enrolled. Fun in the Parks program for children 6 to 11, held at the City Park, includes Games and Sports, Creative Drama, Arts and Crafts, and weekly swimming. Last year, 35 children were enrolled.
The Center sponsors adult leagues in basketball and volleyball, and offers various rooms for rental. We also offer the Civic Center membership to families, single adults, and students, which allows them to attend various programs and activities for free or at reduced rates.
On the staff are Jenny Chvatal, director, Lynn Bixby, maintenance, and Clark Sackschewsky, Mitch Laudenback, and John Kolterman Jr.
The first meeting of the Saunders County Senior Advisory Board was held on April 11, 1978. Roy A. Johnston of Yutan was named chairman and Alice Wall of Ashland was selected as chairman-elect. Other members elected included: Helen Stuchlik of Weston, recording secretary; Tom Svoboda, Director of the Saunders County Health Department, transportation committee; Carl Stange of Yutan, dinner committee; Irma Hedlund of Ceresco; and Marion Dimmett of Ashland.
The purpose of the Board was to advise the County Board of Supervisors on matters of concern to older residents and to serve as a link between the County Board and senior citizens.
Friday, October 6, 1978, was a special day. The Senior Citizens van was dedicated! The van will give eligible riders a chance to get to almost any point in the county, as well as North Bend, Fremont, Omaha, or Lincoln. Residents of Saunders County who are 55 or older, have professionally-diagnosed handicaps which prevent them from using a car, and with no other method of transportation, are eligible to use this service. The van cost $9,000. An additional $1,700 was used to install a lift to accommodate people in wheel chairs.