|Honoring a living legend, Don Overman|
|September 26, 2013 Jerry Purvis|
Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen From left: Don Overman is presented with the first Contemporary Legend Award by Brenda Leisy, director of Scotts Bluff County Tourism.
Don Overman, a major contributor to community betterment for decades, is the recipient of the first Contemporary Legend Award.
The award is part of Legends Week, where area attractions schedule special events for the public to visit.
“We have a lot of history and geology that we’re proud of,” said Cher Maybee of Platte Valley Attractions. “We also need to be proud of our living legends, those people who create a life story that endures through time.”
According to his children, Overman has “selflessly and tirelessly invested his time and talent for the betterment of the place we call home.”
His many years as mayor of Scottsbluff earned him the unofficial title of “Mayor Emeritus.” The new terminal building at Western Nebraska Regional Airport is named for him.
Overman has been active in his support of the Heartland Expressway, which has been in the works for about 30 years. He also testified before Congress in his strong objection to federal defunding of the Essential Air Service program for smaller, community airports.
Overman’s children once asked him why the area needed a four-lane expressway or a modern airport. He responded that we’re not building the infrastructure for today, but for future generations.
“We continue to try making things better every day,” Overman said during the award ceremony at the West Nebraska Art Center on Sept. 18. “We live in a great place with great people. I wouldn’t have accomplished what I have without all their help.”
In addition to serving on the Scottsbluff City Council and as mayor, he’s served on the board of the National League of Cities. His connections in that position helped the area secure a $400,000 state grant to start building the Monument Valley Pathways.
Through other connections, Overman was able to secure a federal government award of $29.6 million for Nebraska and South Dakota to extend their sections of the Heartland Expressway.
“You see the result of that even today,” he said. “South Dakota is coming down and we’re going up, although more slowly.”