Award Winners

Each year, we honor the rural champions who help us accomplish so much for rural America. Your actions and your values lay the foundation for a better rural future. With you by our side, we’ll continue fighting for the future we know is possible.

About the individual awards

The Seventh Generation Award is a lifetime service award presented to an individual who has made major contributions in improving rural life and protecting our land and water.

The Citizenship Award is given to an individual or individuals who actively participate in the civic process for creating public policy, and who work closely with the Center for Rural Affairs to advance public policies that strengthen family farms, ranches and rural communities.

The George Norris Policymaker Award is given to a policymaker who employs bipartisanship, compromise, and consensus to improve policy outcomes for family farms and rural communities.

The Bob Steffen Pioneer Award is bestowed by Center for Rural Affairs each year to a person or persons who work with the Center make extraordinary contributions in building community engagement within their own communities. People who receive this award provide a model for innovation, stewardship or community development.

The REAP Entrepreneur Award is presented annually to an individual or individuals who best exemplify the entrepreneurial spirit that defines and is so crucial to the future prosperity of Nebraska’s rural communities.

The REAP Latino Business Center Entrepreneur Award is presented annually to an entrepreneur or entrepreneurs who have effectively utilized the services of the Latino Business Center, is successfully operating and growing their business. The award winner best exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit that is so crucial to Latino-owned businesses and the rural Nebraska communities they call home.

The REAP Extra Mile Award is given annually to a person or organization that has demonstrated outstanding support for REAP and exceptional dedication to small business development in rural Nebraska.

The REAP Friend Award is given annually to an individual, organization or institution that provides invaluable service to entrepreneurs by assisting the Center for Rural Affairs’ REAP staff in offering technical assistance, business training, loans and networking across rural Nebraska.

The REAP Latino Business Center Partner Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated outstanding support for the REAP Latino Business Center and exceptional dedication to small business development in rural Nebraska.


Seventh Generation Award: Paul Olson, Lincoln, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Mark and Connie Tjemeland, McCallsburg, Iowa
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Hank Miller, Bloomfield, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Mary Rosa and Eduardo Morales, Columbus, Neb.
REAP Friend Award: Patty Plugge​, Tekamah, Neb.
REAP Extra Mile Award: Tina Biteghe Bi Ndong​, West Point, Neb.
Women Business Center Entrepreneur Award: Megan Gewecke, Kearney, Neb.
Latino Business Center Entrepreneur Award: Yomara Hernandez, Schuyler, Neb.
Latino Business Center Partner Award: Jeanne Schieffer and Sandie Fischer, Columbus, Neb.


Citizenship Award: Anthony and Mariel Barreras, Blair, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Tim Rinne and Ron Meyer, Lincoln, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Nancy and David Jones, Chappell, Neb.
REAP Friend Award: Darby Paxton, O’Neill, Neb.
Women Business Center Entrepreneur Award: Danelle Nutt, Kearney, Neb.
Latino Business Center Entrepreneur Award: Rosa Maria Brooks, Hastings, Neb.
Latino Business Center Partner Award: Jessica Campos, Grand Island, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: David and Connie Hansen, Anselmo, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Ross Knott, Petersburg, Neb.
George Norris Policymaker Award: Mary Harding, Plattsmouth, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Hilda Moreno and Carlos Alvarado, Fremont, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Dr. Jennafer Glaesemann, Beatrice, Neb.
REAP Friend of the Year Award: Sara Bennett, Grand Island, Neb.
Women Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Connie and Roger Kirkpatrick, Alda, Neb.
Latino Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Norma Cell Marquez, Grand Island, Neb.
REAP Extra Mile Award: Jeff Reynolds, posthumously. Award accepted by his wife, Karen Reynolds, Plymouth, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Chuck and Barb Francis, Lincoln, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Bill Furlong, Iowa City, Iowa
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Aida Olivas, Hastings, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Don and Mary Jo Longnecker, Indianola, Neb.
REAP Friend of the Year Award: Glennis McClure, Beatrice, Neb.
Women Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Linda Horner, Ord, Neb.
Latino Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Ana Gonzalez, Grand Island, Neb.
​REAP Extra Mile Award: Doris Lux, Columbus, Neb.
Latino Business Center Partner of the Year Award: Sandra Barrera, Grand Island, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Betty Sayers, Holdrege, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Matt Connealy, Decatur, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Bill Hedges, Lyons, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Kristy and Greg Parr, Norfolk, Neb.
REAP Friend of the Year Award: Pat Coldiron, Seward, Neb.
Women Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Colleen Rickard, Axtell, Neb.
Latino Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Arcadio and Ebodio Zepeda, Norfolk, Neb.
​REAP Extra Mile Award: First Central Bank of Curtis


Seventh Generation Award: Don and Pat Lamb, Moorhead, Iowa
Citizenship Award: Jerry Peckumn, Jefferson, Iowa
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Dan Hromas, York, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Tyler Ray Loop, Tyler Sue Loop and Adam Siegfried, McCook, Neb.
REAP Friend of the Year Award: Mike Burge, Valentine, Neb.
Women Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Maria Swenson, Alliance, Neb.
REAP Extra Mile Award: Pat Compton, Kearney, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: LeRoy and Vergie Hansen, Minden, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Amanda McKinney, Beatrice, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Ken and Lareda Hoback, Burwell, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: David and Kimberly Nelson, Papillion, Neb.
REAP Friend of the Year Award: Milo Alexander, Creighton School of Law's Community Economic Development Clinic
Women Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Stacy Chingren, North Platte, Neb.
Latino Business Center Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Diana Vazquez, Lexington, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Floyd Herman, Wilber, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Doug and Anna Crabtree
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Dave and Deb Welsch
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Fernando Lopez


Seventh Generation Award: Tom Brown, Hershey, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Al Guenther
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Lance Hedquist
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Brandon Raby, North Platte, Neb.
REAP Friend of the Year Award: Weldon Sleight


Seventh Generation Award: Dave Vetter
Citizenship Award: Suzanne Castello and Barney Bahrenfuse
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Dalia Mier and Adriana Dungan
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Connie Harvey, Hastings, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Dwight and Becky Ault, Austin, Minn.
Citizenship Award: Angel Romero Kiester, Lyons, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Jeanette Pinkelman, Louise Guy, Mary Rose Pinkelman, Vecky Koch and Violet Pinkelman
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Bradley and Gina Babb, Ord, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Art May, Winnebago, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Jacob Cowgill, Mont.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Rhoda Bjelland, Hadar, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Larry Harbour, Broken Bow, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Bev and Chuck Henkel, Norfolk, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Greg Brokaw, Ashley, ND
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Gary and Mary Cwach, Yankton, SD
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Jose Lopez, Schuyler, Neb.
Retiring Board Members: Merlin Fick, Ashland, Neb; and Mary Rose Pinkelman, St. James, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Bob Warrick, Oceanside, Calif.
Citizenship Award: Mark Leonard, Holstein, Iowa
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Konnie Frederick, Randolph, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Janie Troxel, Fairbury, Neb.
Special Award for work on I-300: John Hansen, Lincoln, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Alan Hoefling, Marcus, Iowa
Citizenship Award: Edgar Hicks, Omaha, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Tim Nissen, Hartington, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Missy Hillmer, Central City, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Bob Steffen, Bennington, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Dennis Demmel, Ogallala, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Joan Alexander, Plainview, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Keith and Sue Roberts, Orleans, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Frankie and Darlene Charipar, Leigh, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Mary Ridder, Callaway, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Curt Arens, Crofton, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Betty Vermeer, Sterling, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Ron and Carol Schooley, Grand Island, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Charlie and Bette Johnson, Madison, SD; Mike and Nina Korth, Randolph, Neb.; and Wayne Frost, St. Paul, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: John Smith, Pender, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award: Marlene Van Diest, Dunning, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Albert Ebers, Seward, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Cy Pinkelman, Hartington, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Todd and Julie Stewart, Meadow Grove, Neb.
REAP Entrepreneur Award (new in 2001): Ed and Vicki Oxford, Sargent, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Ron and Maria Rosmann, Harlan, Iowa
Citizenship Award: Chris and Kristi Peterson, Clear Lake, Iowa
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Jim and Pauline Einrem, Bassett, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Dave Williams, Villisca, Iowa
Citizenship Award: Lowell Schroeder, Stanton, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Paul Rohrbaugh, Steinauer, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Herman Hovendick, Blair, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Tom Larson, St. Edward, Neb.
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Rose Mason, Dixon, Neb.


Seventh Generation Award: Everett Holstein, Blair, Neb.
Citizenship Award: Linus Solberg, Cylinder, Iowa; and Jim Braun, Latimer, Iowa
Bob Steffen Pioneer Award: Kathy Reynolds, Wahoo, Neb.