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Her Ducky Day: Gering resident wins big at Rubber Duck Dash
July 30, 2015 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis

Lucille Meyer won a 2015 Chevy Silverado as the grand prize winner. She was also presented the winning duck.

Gering resident Lucille Meyer usually only buys one rubber duck each year for the annual Rubber Duck Dash fundraising event for United Way of Western Nebraska, but this year’s was one lucky duck.

Jeana Allen, United Way special events coordinator, presented Lucille with her winning duck along with the keys to a new 2015 Chevrolet Silverado 1500, donated by TEAM Auto Center.

“We’ve never had a duck beeline for the finish line before,” Allen said. “This little guy came down the middle of the river all by himself, and shot right into the net.”
Although Lucille appreciated the big win, her health made it necessary to accept a cash award instead. “I have macular degeneration and I’m afraid to get into a new vehicle and learning how to drive it,” she said. “I’m not ready for all the complications of a new vehicle.”

Dave Schick with TEAM Auto Center said they plan to make Lucille a cash offer on the truck so she gets what she wants.

“One of our core values at TEAM Auto Center is to be good community citizens,” Schick said. “We do that in part by supporting United Way of Western Nebraska. Because they support a number of different organizations, we feel it’s one of the best ways that we can help our community.”

Allen said this year was the first time the Rubber Duck Dash wasn’t held in September. Because the water level is usually high in the fall, there were several times when ducks had to be pulled out of a big pile, rather than float down the river.

With the river at its lowest point in late July, United Way changed the date to assure a good chance of the ducks making the river run. “We didn’t know what to expect with an earlier date, but we couldn’t have asked for a better day,” Allen said. “The river cooperated and the weather was beautiful.”

Almost 500 people attended the event at the YMCA Trails West Camp, where United Way member agencies had a variety of game for the kids. And a grand total of 18,741 ducks were sold to benefit the community service agencies supported by United Way.
In addition to the Chevy Silverado grand prize, the second prize of a Honda Pioneer 500 Side-by-Side was presented by Sandberg Honda to Ryan and Nicole Scharf of Scottsbluff. The third place prize of a York Furnace installation from Gering Valley One Hour was presented to Sara Pomrenke. Joyce Kreig won the fourth prize of $2000 presented by McDonald’s of Western Nebraska Panhandle and Torrington, Wyo. And the fifth place prize of a Traeger Grill donated by Johnson Cashway Lumber was awarded to Rene Clay.

The next event for this year’s fundraising campaign is coming up on Monday, Sept. 14. The 18th annual United Way of Western Nebraska Golf Tournament will happen at the Scotts Bluff Country Club. Check United Way’s website at unitedwayofwesternnebraska.com for more information.

This campaign season’s United Way member agencies include the 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, DOVES, CAPWN Foster Grandparents Program, NCAP Foster Grandparents Program, Guadalupe Center, Monument Family Connections, Panhandle Independent Living Services, Respite Program, Scotts Bluff County Volunteer Center, Scottsbluff/Gering Soup Kitchen, Scottsbluff Senior Center, Camp Scott Summer Program for Handicapped Children, and the CAPWN Western Nebraska Child Development Center.

Photo by Frank Marquez/Gering Citizen - Volunteers donning blue shirts Alyssa Bustinza, Bethany Loseke, and Shala Sinner, using a basket as a scoop, help to capture the ducks at the end of their journey at YMCA Trails West Camp on Saturday.

Heather Hayes hauls ducks to shore during the United Way of Western Nebraska’s 18th Annual Rubber Duck Dash.
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