EDGE honors those who ‘make our county a better place’

Falls City EDGE hosted it’s Annual Awards Banquet last Wednesday, Jan. 13.
The EDGE awards honor those who have been instrumental in making Falls City and the surrounding area. These individuals make our county a better place to live, work and do business.
Every individual recognized were gifted with unique talents, perspectives and beliefs that they graciously share their gifts with the community.
Rachel Aitken was this year’s recipient of the 2015 Millennial Award. This award recognizes a young person between the ages of 15-30 years of age who is making extraordinary contributions to their community via leadership and volunteer efforts.  This person strongly believes in her community and has chosen to live, work and volunteer in her hometown of Falls City.  She is a 2013 graduate of Sacred Heart High School.
Rachel maintains a very full schedule yet finds time to give back to her community.  She holds two jobs; she is the manager at Sportin’ Falls City and is the trusty bookkeeper for Eric Froeschl Construction.  Rachel is a full time student, a member of the Falls City Volunteer Ambulance Squad and a graduate of the Lane Leadership program in Falls City.
The inaugural class of the Falls City EDGE Wall of Fame Award was presented to four people, as well. To be elected, a person must have made significant contributions in Falls City or Richardson County in volunteerism, leadership and philanthropic activity.
Bill Schock, World War II Hero and owner of the Falls City Journal, was recognized for the many contributions he has made to this region. Bill is 97 years young and, as was written in his nomination letter, should be recognized for “all of the amazing and wonderful things he has done for his hometown for almost a century.”  Bill, through his writings in The Journal, has reinforced the connections among the people living in this community for decades. He is intrinsically woven into the fabric of this community.
The late John Morehead was President of Richardson County Bank for nearly 40 years and also enjoyed an early career as an FBI agent.  He enjoyed being involved in many civic activities throughout the course of his life. John’s nomination letter noted, “John, and his wife Amy, are among the persons who Falls City has been blessed to have as residents who understood and lived the philosophy that it takes individuals giving back to their community to make it better.” He was a civic minded, generous philanthropist who was instrumental in the creation of the Downtown Modernization, Inc. entity which was founded and funded by local business persons and dedicated to downtown retailing. Downtown Modernization is responsible for anchoring our downtown business district with the location of Pamida in the 1970’s. John passed away last April at the age of 87.
The late Rodney P. Vandeberg, former Falls City Mayor, Nebraska District 1 Highway Commissioner and President of First National Bank, passed away at 78 years old this past May. Rod was Falls City’s guiding light, biggest cheerleader, and philanthropic giant and he is greatly missed. “He was civically active and financially generous in a way unrivaled by anyone who came before him and set that bar astronomically high for the generosity of people to come.” Rod was a member of the Falls City EDGE Board of Director’s and was instrumental in many of the projects we’ve landed during these past 10 years.
Stephen P. Kottich, former Mayor of Falls City and owner of Miller Monroe Company, is the one we can thank for bringing Falls City’s economic development efforts to where they are today. His vision and foresight laid the groundwork necessary for Falls City to compete in the economic development arena and many of the business recruitment successes, including WASP/FAST, Herzog, Ames True Temper and Vantec, are attributed to his work and salesmanship. He has been a key player in Falls City’s economic development efforts for a ¼ century and he was also the first President of EDGE.  His leadership during EDGE’s formative years afforded Falls City the distinct opportunity to successfully transition from a public to private economic development entity.
Those selected for this prestigious award will be recognized by having their personalized plaque line the walls at Falls City EDGE office. This permanent display will serve to remind area citizens that the success we all share is thanks to those individuals who give back so generously to their community.  
Each year, the Investor and Community Relations committee chooses to honor the most valuable asset, by presenting the prestigious EDGE Investor of the Year award.   Dedicated Investors are the main reason EDGE has been successful.
The seventh annual Investor of the Year recipient has made a great investment in the City of Falls City at its historic location on the corner of 17th and Stone St.
F&M Bank, the winner of the Investor of the Year Award, employs 17 people, invested more than $3/4 of a million dollars in their community, and utilized several local contractors in their project.

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