Rescheduling a public event that involves a rented venue, a caterer, a liquor license and a long list of award recipients is no small task. That's a lot of moving parts to try and realign. In the darkness of my home, which had no electricity from 3 am to 9 am, I fretted last Thursday morning about how the Chamber and GIC Business After Hours & Awards event might all come together again (or
simply fall apart).
Amazingly, just like the privacy fence around my yard, all of the pieces fit
back together (with only minor flaws) and the event was a go once again. Please, come celebrate with us tonight!
When all of the rescheduling details were worked out, I spent about two minutes being proud of myself for not having a nervous breakdown during the realignment process. Then I opened Facebook to share the new details for the Business After Hours and I was instantly mad at myself.
Rescheduling this celebration had become such a big deal to me that I was blind to what was happening on both ends of my state. In the Panhandle — where I grew up — folks were buried under FEET of snow. The losses, especially to the cattle industry, are enormous. In eastern Nebraska, three people lost their lives due to FEET of gushing water that has caused destruction beyond BILLIONS of dollars.
It seems a little unreal here in Gothenburg where a few washed out gravel roads have been an inconvenience. But to no surprise, our generous residents have already begun delivering help to take care of our neighbors. There have been loads of hay, water, food and other personal items already delivered from here. More loads are being collected.
The Governor has declared Friday, March 22, as #NebraskaStrong Day, urging those who can donate financially to give via a phone call to 844-278-8555. Giving online is also available through an American Red Cross relief site at www.RedCross.org/donate.
There's not a quick fix. No doubt, though, neighbors will continue helping neighbors until everyone is back on their feet, because we are ... #NebraskaStrong.
If you want a little crazy weather, ask the Gothenburg Community Development Office to plan the annual awards presentation event. At least that's been the case the past two years, and it proved true again in 2019. We've postponed our Business After Hours & Awards until Thursday, March 21, at the same time and same place.
There are still folks out there confused by the Gothenburg Community Development Office, Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce and Gothenburg Improvement Company. Are they all the same thing? How are they different? Why are there three? Let me explain.
The Gothenburg Chamber of Commerce is a membership organization designed to promote the businesses in town and growth of our community. We also work to make connections with new residents, plan events such as Harvest Festival, advertise our attractions to tourists and take a seat at the table whenever discussions warrant. It's a nonprofit organization run by 12 board of directors. That's just a snippet. It would take far too many characters to explain it all.
Gothenburg Improvement Company is an organization of stockholders who volunteer their time toward economic development. These range from recruiting new businesses and working toward business retention to leading efforts such as passing a school bond issue, developing an economic development sales tax plan and pushing the fundraising for a new YMCA across the finish line. Right now, GIC is heavily involved in new housing development and early childhood learning, on top of marketing the former Baldwin Filters building to find a new community partner. It is run by a board of directors made up of 16 community leaders and the tasks they take on vary as much as the talents each brings to the board.
And simply put, the Community Development Office is the umbrella. The Community Development Office manages the day-to-day operations of both the Chamber and GIC under one roof.
So when the Community Development Office has its annual awards event — this year in a Business After Hours format — both the Chamber and GIC come together to honor a few folks that make Gothenburg the fabulous community that it is. All of this year's award recipients exemplify "The Gothenburg Way." A few kind words and a pretty plaque seem small when compared to what these folks have done for the community.
The event is free and open to the public. No tickets and no reservations required. We'll have some hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar and lots to fun. I hope you'll join us to recognize what's great about Gothenburg.