About AVP 2017-03-25T18:48:59+00:00

History

F&M Bank contacted a few men of the West Point community who share a common interest in honoring our veterans, offering to donate a plot of  land for the construction of a veterans memorial.  After realizing the magnitude of this project, this group of men consulted with a few others, and it wasn’t long before an official planning committee was organized.   The committee convened for the first time on May 16, 2016, rolled up their sleeves, and jumped right in, planning and researching.   This committee quickly grew to 13 members, including residents from each Cuming County community. Over the next few months, hours and hours of planning occurred, decisions were made, goals were established, papers signed, proposals solicited, applications submitted, accounts established, designs drawn, designs re-drawn, contacts made, deadlines established, and through these efforts, the American Veterans Park was born. Without the generosity and motivation of the original few, and the outpouring of support from the community, this corner next to the bank would still be just an vacant plot of land.

Mission

To Honor God, Country, Veterans and their Families

Objectives

  • To construct a memorial recognizing the service and sacrifice of all U.S. servicemen and women, from all branches of the military, who served our great nation both during times of peace and times of war.

  • To glorify God, honor a great nation built on faith and trust, and recognize military families as our hidden heroes.

  • To bring honor and beauty to Cuming County, imposing little to no expense or maintenance demands on future generations.

Planning Committee

Kenneth Hanel
Co-Chairman

Ken Hanel is a 3-Year Veteran of Service in the United States Army, serving 27 months with Pershing Nuclear in Northern Germany, during the Cold War Era.

Currently retired, Ken is an active member of the community. He has been a member of the American Legion for 39 years and the Selective Service System (Region 4) for 15 years. He currently serves on the Cuming County Veterans Service Board, and most recently, he was elected as co-chair of the American Veterans Park Committee.

Bernie Hunke
Co-Chairman

Bernie was born and raised in West Point, Nebraska. He joined the Air Force in 1986 and retired in 2008, serving as a C-130 Loadmaster for 22 years.

Bernie was assigned to Offutt Air Force Base in 2006 which allowed him to return to his home state of Nebraska. Since his return, he served West Point as commander of the VFW Post 4912, and was recently appointed co-chair of the American Veterans Park committee. He is currently a member of the VFW, American Legion, West Point Volunteer Fire Department and St. Mary’s parish. When the VA Vets to Vets program was initiated in West Point in 2012, Bernie was invited to serve as the military representative to assist veterans in hospice care. Currently employed as Cuming County’s Veterans Services Officer, Bernie maintains his military connections by serving and assisting area veterans with VA benefits.

Rick Wimer
Co-Chairman

Rick was born in Sioux City Iowa, but considers himself a Nebraskan as he has lived most of his life in Nebraska. He served three years active Marines and ten years in the Marine Reserve. Rick and his wife, Jayne, have been married for 34 years and have 5 children. Two of his sons have served in the Marine Corps and his daughter will be entering the Corps later this year.

Passionate about working with Veterans, Rick has been involved with over 10 trips to Washington DC, taking veterans to visit their memorials. In May, 2017, he will be helping with the next Honor Flight, serving 650 Vietnam veterans. Rick served on the Norfolk Veterans Foundation Board and he currently serves the American Legion as Financial Officer for District 3 and for Post 70. His membership in the American Legion spans 36 consecutive years.

Very active in the West Point community, Rick serves as Vice President of the St. Francis Memorial Hospital Foundation and he is also a member of West Point Community Foundation, St. Mary’s parish and Knights of Columbus. He has served as an EMT for West Point Rescue for over 30 years. On the American Veterans Park Committee, Rick holds the position of Co-Chairman

Vaughn Beed
Committee Member

Vaughn moved to West Point in 1971 and graduated from West Point High School in 1975.

He’s been working in the community ever since graduation and is currently a member of the American Legion riders Post 159 Beemer. He works every day as the owner of BEED TRANSPORTATION!

Rich Brahmer
Committee Member

Richard L. Brahmer was born in West Point but later moved to a farm in Wisner.  He graduated from Wisner High School in 1964 and then attended college at the University of Nebraska until graduating in 1968.

He served in the US Air Force from 1968 – 1974, serving part of that time in southeast Asia.  After the military, he worked for the local cooperative system until the year 2000 when he started his own truck line business which he still operates today.

Rich served on the Wisner-Pilger School Board for 12 years and the Wisner City Council for 6 years prior to serving on the American Veterans Park committee.

Steve Brune
Committee Member

Steve was born and raised on a family farm near Dodge. After High School, he went to College in Kearney and joined the United States Army Reserve. Upon finishing college, he became a banker, specializing in commercial and agricultural lending, which he still enjoys doing yet today, some 30 years later. His banking career has landed him jobs in several locations around the state like: Holdrege, Grand Island, Clearwater and now West Point. His Army Reserve career was a 10 year tour, with one of those years being activated for the Persian Gulf War in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. That year of active duty gave him the opportunity to experience boots on the ground in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Steve met his wife Shelley in College. Shelley, a school teacher, was raised in Gordon, of which she calls that end of the state “God’s Country”. Soon after college, they married and then added their first child to the family. Years later, they wanted to do well on to others so they signed up for foster care. To that desire, over the next 10 years they welcomed four foster children to their home, of which each of them has stayed in their home and since have been adopted. Their small family of three soon blossomed to a family of seven in no time. He says, most days, he is not willing to give any of them back.

Outside of work and family, Steve has spent significant time with volunteer Fire & Rescue. He is a 24 year member of Rescue today. To that line of work he has coined a phrase: “Care giver and difference maker” providing critical care to those most in need. Additionally Steve has spent his volunteer time doing things like: A “Guardian” for the Honor Flights to DC, participates in the American Legion, VFW, Village Board, and community parades, served on parish councils, endowment boards, CCD teacher, Cub Scout leader, Special Olympic volunteer, Chamber of Commerce, and so many more. To this list of community service, Steve was added the team that will design and build a Veterans Memorial Park, honoring God, County, Family, and Veterans.

Adeline Hanel
Committee Member

Adeline was born and raised on a farm by Howells, Nebraska, and graduated from Howells High School. After working at the Clarkson Bank for ten years, she moved to West Point in 1979 and has been employed at F&M Bank (aka Farmers & Merchants National Bank) for 37 years.

An active member in the community, Adeline currently serves as the secretary on the American Veterans Park Committee, President of District 3 American Legion Auxiliary, Vice President and 24-year member of the American Legion Auxiliary, Unit 70; member and usher at St. Mary’s church and secretary, treasurer of Cuming County Crimestoppers. Adeline’s husband, Ken, served in Germany during the Vietnam Era, and her father served in Germany during World War II.

Lisa Hunke
Committee Member

Lisa was born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas. She met husband, Bernie, when he was stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base. They married in 1990 and spent time living in Japan, North Carolina, Arkansas and Germany with their four daughters before moving back to West Point in December, 2006.

In addition to being a military spouse for 22 years before her husband retired, Lisa comes from a family devoted to military service. Her father and uncle served in the Air Force, and her grandfather, father-in-law and two nephews served in the Army.

Lisa works for St. Mary’s as youth minister and as rural faith formation coordinator for the Archdiocese of Omaha. On the American Veterans Park Committee, Lisa currently serves as media coordinator and a member of the design team.

Jason Minnick
Committee Member

Jason is proud to serve on the committee for the American Veterans Park to be located in West Point.  The grandson of a marine and a navy midshipman, he was excited to help with the project in honoring the veterans from Cuming County.

Jason and his wife Becky own the Minnick Funeral Homes in West Point, Wisner, Beemer and Dodge. They have been married for 25 years and have four children-Delayna, Ashley, Jared and Ava. They are proud to have called the communities of Wisner and West Point home for the last 24 years.

Harold Schmader
Committee Member

Harold was born and raised in West Point, Nebraska.  He was drafted in the Army in 1953.  He served two years at Ladd Air Force Base in Fairbanks, Alaska. After Harold’s return, he worked for the Cuming County Public Power District.  Harold started up in business in 1967, owning Schmader Electric.  Schmader Electric continues to operate today as his son Dale is the present owner.

Harold’s commitment to the growth of his hometown of West Point led him to own many businesses throughout the years including Pointer’s Inn Motel,  Neligh House Family Restaurant, Schmader Apartments, C & D (construction and demolition) Landfill, Midwest Hydraulics of Grand Island, and Elkhorn River Elk.  Harold’s wife Jeanette shared in this commitment and was his business partner.  They have two sons and three daughters and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Harold was one of the founding directors of the Central Catholic Endowment Board which began in 1984.  He served on the Saint Francis Memorial Hospital board for six years.  He was appointed a director of the Charter West Bank in 1985 and currently serves on the board.   Harold is a member of the American Veteran’s Park Committee.  Harold carefully selected the park committee members and serves on the committee.  Harold is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish and Knights of Columbus.  He has been a member of the American Legion for 62 years.

Many members of Harold’s family have served in the armed forces.  Some include Harold’s father, John Schmader, who served in the Army during WWII.  His brother Dennis of Medford, Oregon served in the Navy during the Korean War and his brother Randy of Wichita Falls, Texas served in the Marines in Vietnam.

Kenneth Schoch
Committee Member

Kenneth was born on a farm west of Bancroft and has lived there his entire life. After graduating from Pender High School, he farmed for two years before joining the Army. He attended Engineering School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and was an instructor there for over two years. After completing his military service, he returned to Bancroft to farm and is now retired. Kenneth is married to Kathryn Ott Hoefs (Kathy) and they celebrated their 25th Anniversary on December 29, 2016. He enjoys flower gardening, traveling and helping harvest for neighbors.

Kenneth serves as chairman of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Council – Bancroft, treasurer of American Legion Post #191, secretary-treasurer of Bancroft Rural Fire Protection District and member of West Point Circuit Form and American Veterans Park Committee.

Dave Steffensmeier
Committee Member

Dave Steffensmeier was born in West Point, Nebraska on October 15, 1947. He is married to his wife Susan E. Steffensmeier and they have four children: Carol, Ryan, Trisha and Megan; They also have two sons-in- law, one daughter-in- law, and nine grandchildren.

Dave attended Beemer High School and graduated in 1965. He then attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1969. Dave also attended Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, where he received a Masters in Business Administration in 1975.

Dave is now the owner, director, chairman and President of First Community Bank in Beemer, Nebraska, and has been since 1970.

Dave is also a trustee, parish council member, and member of the financial committee at Holy Cross Catholic Church. He belongs to the Archdiocese of Omaha Committee for Development. He has also been the past president of both the Beemer Community Club and the Cuming Count Economic Development Board. In addition, Dave is a NBA VEBA Board Member as well as Director of Franciscan Care Services, Inc.