2015 Wall of Fame Awards

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Falls City EDGE’s new community based awards give recognition to these individual winners of this inaugural year.  We created these awards in order to honor those who have been instrumental in making Falls City/Richardson County the place we enjoy today.  Individuals who dedicate themselves to excellence help make Falls City/Richardson County a vibrant place to do business, work and live.  We recognized and celebrated this deserving group of people by showcasing them and their families during the 2015 Annual Banquet awards ceremony.  Every individual being recognized are/were gifted with unique talents, perspectives and beliefs and they graciously shared these gifts with the community.

The Wall of Fame candidates must have made significant contributions in Falls City/Richardson County in the areas of volunteerism, leadership, and philanthropic activity.  These deserving individuals have been role models for citizens and were instrumental in making Falls City the Passionate, Proven, and Prosperous community we enjoy today. 

Bill Schock, World War II Hero and owner of the Falls City Journal, is being recognized for the…too many to list…contributions he has made to this region.  Bill is 97 years young and, as was written in his nomination letter, should be recognized for “all of the amazing and wonderful things he has done for his hometown for almost a century!”  Bill, through his writings in the Journal, has reinforced the connections among the people living in this community for decades.  He is intrinsically woven into the fabric of this community and we are proud to honor him.  Bill survived being a prisoner of war for 13 months and got through it with a sense of humor and strong faith.  He has openly shared his humor and faith with this community and we are all better because of him.  Thank you, Bill, for everything you have done for our country and our community. 

The late John Morehead was President of Richardson County Bank for nearly 40 years and also enjoyed an early career as an FBI agent.  He enjoyed being involved in many civic activities throughout the course of his life.  John’s nomination letter noted, “John, and his wife Amy, are among the persons who Falls City has been blessed to have as residents who understood and lived the philosophy that it takes individuals giving back to their community to make it better.”  John was a brilliant scholar, earning two law degrees in just five years and was a National Champion trap shooter.  He was a civic minded, generous philanthropist who was instrumental in the creation of the Downtown Modernization, Inc. entity which was founded and funded by local business persons and dedicated to downtown retailing.  Downtown Modernization is responsible for anchoring our downtown business district with the location of Pamida in the 1970’s.  John passed away last April at the age of 87, just shy of his 60 year wedding anniversary to the love of his life, Amalia.  Falls City is thankful for the contributions of the Morehead family and we honor John’s role in all the success over the past 4 decades.

The late Rodney P. Vandeberg, former Falls City Mayor, Nebraska District 1 Highway Commissioner and President of First National Bank, passed away at 78 years old this past May.  Rod was Falls City’s guiding light, biggest cheerleader, and philanthropic giant and he is greatly missed.  The Falls City Journal said it best, “He was civically active and financially generous in a way unrivaled by anyone who came before him and set that bar astronomically high for the generosity of people to come.”  Rod was a member of the Falls City EDGE Board of Director’s and was instrumental in many of the projects we’ve landed during these past 10 years.  His business savvy, personable demeanor and welcoming attitude is big part of the many successes we share in today.  

Stephen P. Kottich, former 2 ½ term Mayor of Falls City and owner of Miller Monroe Company, is the one we can thank for bringing Falls City’s economic development efforts to where they are today.  His vision and foresight laid the groundwork necessary for Falls City to compete in the economic development arena and many of the business recruitment successes, including WASP/FAST, Herzog, Ames True Temper and Vantec, are attributed to his work and salesmanship.  Steve was Mayor of Falls City for 10 years and during that time the City purchased KCP&L’s gas franchise thus creating a municipally owned gas company that had the capital necessary to fund a new economic development program.  He has been a key player in Falls City’s economic development efforts for a ¼ century and he was also the first President of EDGE.  His leadership during EDGE’s formative years afforded Falls City the distinct opportunity to successfully transition from a public to private economic development entity.

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