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Haney, Ruzicka recognized for tourism contributions
May 31, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo By Jerry Purvis
Jodi Ruzicka, board president of the North Platte Valley Museum, and Nancy Haney, curator at the Farm And Ranch Museum, have been honored with the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau Community Volunteer Buddy Award.


Jodi Ruzicka, board president of the North Platte Valley Museum, and Nancy Haney, curator at the Farm And Ranch Museum, have been honored with the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau Community Volunteer Buddy Award.

Bureau Executive Director Karla Niedan-Streeks said the women were honored for their work in coming up with a workable co-located museum complex for both facilities.

“Jodi and Nancy are two exceptional visionaries who see the big picture and are willing to work hard for a cause and stand out as leaders in tourism,” Niedan-Streeks said. “The awards are to recognize people who go above and beyond to grow tourism by giving of their time and service.”

The awards, now in their sixth year, were presented at a tourism rally luncheon Wednesday at the Gering Civic Center.

Doug Leafgreen, board president of the Gering Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Ruzicka and Haney are “the finest examples of genuine friends of tourism. In addition to this project, they each serve as leaders on local and regional tourism boards.”

The Convention and Visitors Bureau schedules its annual luncheon to bring together bureau members and tourism partners “to have some fun and kick off the summer tourism season,” Niedan-Streeks said. “We’re celebrating what tourism means to our community because it directly affects numerous businesses. Because of the money it brings into the community, tourism has an impact on all of us.”

The luncheon’s keynote speaker was Kathy McKillip, director of the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism. She asked “Are You Ready to Be the Change to Grow Tourism?” She talked about last year’s passage of LB 663 by the Nebraska Legislature. That bill called for a strategic planning process for a statewide tourism plan. The plan will be made public within about 60 days.

Past recipients of the Community Volunteer Buddy Award have included Tom Cozad in 2007, Rick Myers in 2008, Barb Netherland in 2009, Ken Mabery in 2010, and Rick and Judy Keller in 2011.

The “Ask Me About Gering” program was also introduced at the luncheon. The pilot program, which starts June 11, is a partnership with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and 12 selected visitor service businesses and attractions.

Front-line employees will be wearing “Ask Me About Gering” buttons to help start impromptu conversations with visitors about the many attractions the community offers.
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