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Everyday Heroes in Southeast Nebraska
The 24-hour news cycle can lend itself to an emphasis on negative news stories. COVID-19 has only brought this into sharper focus, as some journalists clamor to get the latest confirmed case numbers and mortality rates. Constant consumption of these stories can have a negative impact on your mental health. This week, I’m going to flip the script and look to the positive happening right in our backyards.
Auburn resident Marvin Behrends is a decorated WWII veteran who earned a Purple Heart and fought at the Battle of the Bulge. Upon his return in 1945, there were no ticker tape parades or photo ops with dignitaries- Marvin got right to work to provide for his family. Time treated him well, and he celebrated his 100th birthday on July 17. COVID-19 stood in the way of an open house to greet family and friends, so a family friend reached out to my office to see if we could send Marvin a card. That idea turned into throwing a card shower, which led to Marvin’s card shower being promoted on Facebook.
Marvin went “viral,” as the kids would say. The original post to invite community members to send birthday cards reached over 25,000 people- not bad at all for a centenarian. Messages of gratitude, offers to send gifts, and stacks of cards came pouring in. Nebraska City’s chapter of Blue Star Mothers even gave Marvin a Quilt of Valor in a special ceremony. Most of the responses came from complete strangers who just wanted to make a hometown hero’s birthday a little bit brighter. Thanks to their kindness, Marvin had a birthday celebration that he and those close to him will always cherish.
These stories aren’t uncommon in Southeast Nebraska and get right to the core about what makes our corner of the state unique. Everywhere you look in District 1, you’ll see neighbors going above and beyond to help each other. There’s no CNN camera crews filming these moments or monetary incentive involved, just everyday heroes doing good for their community. In a time where it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in bad news in our country, don’t forget to appreciate the good that’s happening in your own hometown.
As always, I welcome your input on issues important to you. Follow along on my Facebook and Twitter pages, both entitled “Senator Julie Slama” for more updates, or contact me directly at Senator Julie Slama, District 1 State Capitol, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509-4604; telephone 402-471-2733; email: firstname.lastname@example.org .