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Kurtz wins top duck prize: Over 17K ducks sold in United Way benefit
September 18, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

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Photo by Jerry Purvis/Gering Citizen - Local businessman, Ken Kurtz (second from left), owner of Spectrum Photographics, was the big winner in this year’s United Way Rubber Duck Dash. Joining him for the award (from left) is Ruben Hernandez and Brady Shaul, special event co-chairs, and Kent Holub with TEAM Auto Center.

Photographer Ken Kurtz of Spectrum Photographics in Gering has always been a big United Way supporter, but this year is extra special.

One of Kurtz’ floating ducks was the first to cross the finish line at the 17th annual United Way of Western Nebraska Rubber Duck Dash. And the grand prize was a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe, donated by TEAM Auto Center.

“We went a different route and gave a way an SUV this year,” said Brady Shaul, special events committee co-chair. “We knew it would get some attention and people liked the idea. We had a good turnout for the event.”

Of the 20,000 ducks available, the public bought 17,410 of them, the third largest number in the event’s history.

Kent Holub with TEAM Auto Center said the Rubber Duck Dash is always the kind of event people get behind to support. “United Way is an organization that benefits the entire community,” he said. “All the money they raise stays in the valley to help organizations that help people.”

Kurtz said the new Chevy Tahoe was the ultimate vehicle for a photographer. “It was also part of the reason I doubled down on my donation to United Way this year and bought about 100 ducks.”

He added he does a lot of fly fishing, so the SUV will see a lot of off-road use. because photographers carry a lot of gear, it’s what he called a “dream vehicle.”

“Right now we’re doing school picture at schools all over the valley, so this will come in handy,” he said.

Kurtz also commended all the sponsors for their dedication to the cause of United Way. “I made a decision years ago to keep my charitable contributions in the valley,” he said. “This group is doing the same thing. It’s a fabulous organization.”

Jeana Allen, special events coordinator said it was a beautiful day to put the ducks back in the river after some years of absence. Several of the agencies supported by United Way also attended the celebration with children’s games prior to the duck launch. “We had about 300 people attend and it was a great day to support United Way,” she said.

The second place winner was Gail Moran, who won a 2014 Honda ATV from Sandberg Honda. The third place prize of a York furnace installation was won by Josh and Andy Wetherington and the area McDonald’s donated a fourth place $2,000 cash award to Brenda Ockinga. Numerous other prizes were awarded as well.

Agencies supported by United Way for the 2014-2015 campaign year include Assets Building Choices (CAPWN), Longs Peak Council of Boy Scouts of America, Buckboard Therapeutic Riding Academy, CAPstone, Carpenter Center, CASA of Scotts Bluff County, Cirrus House Transitional Age Program, Disability Rights Nebraska, Diversified Services, Inc., DOVES, Foster Grandparent Program (CAPWN), Foster Grandparent Program (NCAP), Guadalupe Center, Monument Family Connections, Panhandle Independent Living Services, Panhandle Youth Shelter/Group Home (CAPWN), Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center, Camp Scott Summer Program for Handicapped Children and the Western Nebraska Child Development Center (CAPWN).
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