Park Will Benefit Vets, Families

Michael Ott joined the military to see the world. And he accomplished his mission. After graduating from Beemer High School in 1968, Ott enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed in a number of places in the states and overseas, including Guam where he was part of a civil engineering squadron whose members kept the air conditioners, refrigerators and other cooling equipment in working order. The military, Ott said, is a good teacher. “You learn to follow orders,” headed. “It teaches you discipline. And I liked seeing different parts of the world, meeting a lot of different people.”

Ott hadn’t had enough of military life after his first tour was up. So after returning to Nebraska, he joined the National Guard.

He left the guard in 1987 and continued working for farmers and as a truck driver. Medical issues sent him to the Norfolk Veterans Home. Like many of the veterans there, Ott likes to spend time outside when the weather is nice.

The veterans home, located on East Benjamin Avenue, has a number of pods that jut out from the main building. Each pod has a certain number of bedrooms for members, a dining room and meeting room. And most pods have small patios with tables and chairs that members can use.

Today, thanks to the Heroes Park Campaign, veterans have walking paths, an open air pavilion, quiet sitting areas, and many areas for family and friends to get together and play basketball or on the playground. The campaign for Heroes Park has created a seven-acre space with many outdoor amenities meant to improve the quality of life of our area’s veterans.

“Heroes Park is an opportunity to give back to the veterans and show our appreciation for them serving our country,” said R.J. Gall, chairman of the Veterans Home Foundation board of directors.

“We are thankful for all the donors who have stepped up to the challenge and helped us achieve the goal of building Heroes Park. Please join us in our effort to honor our veterans by purchasing a memory tile, bench, or tree.” Said Ron Stauffer, chairman of the Veterans Home Foundation.

Michael Ott recognized the value of having an outdoor space where veterans, their families and friends could spend time. “It’s a good idea,” he said. “Families could have picnics and the people who use the electric scooters would have a place to walk.”

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