By: Lori Gottula
If it’s mid-August, and Lori Gottula is stalking you, carrying a bouquet of flowers, chances are you’ve been selected as the grand marshal(s) of the Falls City Cobblestone parade.
Such was the case last week for Ed and Sandra Hartman, whose lunch at A&G restaurant was interrupted by the parade director.
“The two of you have done so much for this community,” Lori told the couple. “And it’s time that you receive something back.”
The Hartmans will lead the Cobblestone parade, in a position of honor, in recognition of their outstanding community service. The two have certainly earned the recognition. They have been active community leaders here for more than 40 years.
Ed brought his bride back to his home town in 1973, and the two took over the Falls City Fertilizer business. While Sandy stayed home to raise their two children — Kristen (now Poppe) and Scot — she was also active in the Red Cross, and school activities, serving on the District 56 School Board. Ed worked the business, and volunteered in the community. He was a member of the chamber for 20 years, and served as its president in 1982.
“I think I was a member of every board or club in this town over that 40-year period,” Ed said. “But Bill Schock will tell you that I’m most famous for emceeing the Farmer-Merchant banquet, and for estimating the crowd to be 1,500, no matter how many people we served.”
Always ready with a quip and a chuckle. He and Sandy sold their business in 1992, but Ed continued to stay on for nine years, investing their money in land that he has since managed. Although the two have always been active in the community, a large part of their volunteer work and philanthropy came after their kids graduated from high school. They have been active on EDGE, and Ed was one of the leaders that brought CGB Grain to this community. Sandy has served on the Library and Community Foundation, the Stalder Foundation, Falls City Adjustment Board, and the Richardson County Arts and Humanities Council. Her favorite position, however, has been that of library board member.
“I became active with the library board because of my love of the written word,” Sandy said. “That all started when I was a little girl, and had to walk home from school in Bellevue. It was cold sometimes, and the library was about half-way to my house, so I would stop there to warm up. That’s where my love of books began.”
Sandy wanted the children of this community, including the couple’s four grandchildren, to have the same love for books, so in the early 2000’s, she and then-pharmacist Ken Kunce started a fundraising drive that eventually resulted in the beautiful library that sits at 15th and Stone Streets.
“There would be no new library if it were not for Sandra Hartman,” Ken Kunce said in his letter that nominated the couple for the grand marshal position. “Her spirit imbues the library, and she has shown time and time again that her heart belongs to Falls City.”
That goes for both Sandy and Ed.
They have not only devoted their time to this community, but their money as well. Their donation to the library resulted in the beautiful children’s section, complete with a reading room and a stage for small performances. But the library isn’t the only project in this community that has received their attention.
Ed and Sandy also made substantial donations to the new Community Medical Center, the construction of the new Fiedler Family Sports Complex (resulting in Hartman Field), and the remodel of the FCHS weight room.
Needless to say, without the Hartmans, many of the aforementioned projects may never have come to fruition. The streets of Falls City are lined with their generosity, so as they pass by in the Cobblestone parade, let the streets also be lined with people who show their appreciation.
Ed and Sandy, thank you.