Nebraskans always look at the positive side of life. Our communities grow when individuals step up: helping their neighbors, being involved, and creating opportunities for themselves and others. For this reason, I am excited to launch a new project this year to acknowledge the contributions of individuals, organizations, and those who are working every day to improve and help their communities in the current environment – the Excellence in Innovation and Adaptation Recognition (EIAR).
I am a sixth-generation Nebraskan, and I often think about how far our state has come from the ages of exploration and homesteading until now. In the true pioneer spirit and in pursuit of opportunity, we have overcome many obstacles amidst many unknowns. This same spirit is still present throughout Nebraska and is driving our businesses to meet new challenges while continuing to serve their communities.
Steeple Brewing Co. and Wave Pizza Co. of Hastings are examples of what the EIAR Awards will seek to recognize. When faced with the obstacle of a dining room closure, they reorganized their businesses and began delivering their product across south-central Nebraska. The World Theatre of Kearney also embraced the opportunity to innovate when their auditorium was closed to the public. Collaborating with the Buffalo County Fairgrounds, they reintroduced drive-in movies experience to the Kearney area. When confronted with state-wide school closures, the Gering Public Schools Department of Music used technology to ensure they could still celebrate the hard work and commitment of their students. Through a team effort, they virtually hosted their spring concert and music awards. All three of these stories demonstrate how work ethic and commitment to each other are hallmarks of the Nebraska spirit.