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Who will replace the volunteers who make McCook tick?
It’s hard to believe that a favorite coffee stop, Ivanhoe’s Donut Shop, has been closed since 1996, 23 years ago.
We remember owner Ivan Schmid visiting the newsroom every year, asking us to publicize one of his favorite causes, the Farmers Market that gave gardeners and other home business people a chance to share their bounty with neighbors.
We also remember Ivan, who passed away Monday, for his involvement in the Main Street program that helped revitalize Norris Avenue when the future of every downtown business was in doubt. That effort, and those that followed, has turned downtown McCook into a shopping and entertainment destination for the region.
Ivan and Pat were named Heritage Days Honor Family in 2005 and he was named to the Bison Alumni Wall of Fame and received the Chamber of Commerce Community Builder Award, but most of his work went unnoticed and behind the scenes.
Thousands of orphaned pets were helped by his work in organizing the McCook Humane Society Garage Sale each year, and congregants and visitors made to feel welcome at Memorial United Methodist Church where he served as an usher and worked with the youth group.
Of course, those were only a few of the activities Ivan was involved in, and he was only one of dozens of community volunteers who helped make McCook what it is today.
Sadly and inevitably, his generation is moving on, but leaves behind a legacy that is inspiring the next to maintain and expand the effort. The Graff family and the Sehnerts — yes there’s something about bakeries that lends itself to community involvement — are but two that come to mind, especially as it involves Norris Avenue’s atmosphere, but that’s only a start.
Major institutions like McCook Community College and Community Hospital couldn’t exist, at least at their current effectiveness, without the generous support of hundreds of civic-minded citizens. St. Patricks’ School and dozens of churches of various faiths are witness to residents’ willingness to give to something larger than themselves.
The McCook Community Foundation Fund, the McCook Economic Development Corp., the Southwest Nebraska Leadership Institute, McCook Area Chamber of Commerce and many other public and private organizations are attracting a new generation of leaders who realize just what a great place our community is, and who are dedicated to making it even better.
Yes, we miss Ivan Schmid and other members of the Greatest Generation and all that they did for the generations that follow.
Carrying on that dedication to others is the best tribute we can pay.