Vahles honored for service


Dr. Van and Becky Vahle of Seward were presented with the History Nebraska Heritage Hero Award at the Cattle Bank and Trust 150th celebration in Lincoln Feb. 25.

The award was created by the History Nebraska Board of Trustees to recognize and thank local volunteers of history organizations around the state for their time and effort in helping share Nebraska’s history.

Nominations are sent in from around the state. Each recipient receives a commemorative pin and certificate presented to them by a member of the History Nebraska Board of Trustees.

Eileen Wirth, professor emeritus at Creighton University, presented the award to the Vahles. The nomination was from the Nebraska National Guard Museum and read as follows:

“Van and Becky Vahle have been key financial supporters of Nebraska National Guard Museum’s Re-enactor Outreach Program. Every year since 2017, the Vahles have sponsored nationally known re-enactors to come to the museum for educational outreach programs.

“The museum has benefitted from such characters as Gen. John Pershing (twice), President Teddy Roosevelt, Gen. George Patton, President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, Gen. U.S. Grant and President Abraham Lincoln. The Vahles would always open their home to host the actors for July 4 fireworks in Seward.

“Recently, they helped the museum secure its most historic item, a World War II Higgins Boat Landing Craft recovered from a lake in California. This is one of only 20 surviving craft from the war and will come back to Nebraska, home state of the designer, Andrew Jackson Higgins. The temporary exhibit area in the museum is named in honor of Becky’s father, Major John Cattle, and a replica 1913 Curtiss Pusher aircraft hangs above the room (a gift from the Vahle’s and Cattle Bank).”

Representing the museum was Gerald D. “Jerry” Meyer, NENG Historian. He thanked the Vahles for always being there to support outreach education and exhibits that are on display in the museum.

He also thanked Virginia Cattle and the Cattle Bank Family for their support of the museum and helping to bring the World War II Higgins Boat landing craft to Seward in July. The boat will be part of a documentary over the next few months before its arrival and filming in Seward.

This artifact is one of the rarest of artifacts to be given to the museum and people will get to see it on July 4.