A hearty Saturday Salute goes this week to the entire Grand Island community, which is seeing the progress of its collaboration on the Grand Island Senior High Memorial Stadium renovation project.

With GISH alumnus Lanny Martin providing a lead gift of $10 million to get the project started and a $2 million allocation from Grand Island Public Schools, the GIPS Foundation is closing in on its original goal of raising another $3.3 million. By the time the project is completed in fall 2020, the foundation hopes to raise an additional $1.7 million to cover the full $17 million cost.

The community came together earlier this week to celebrate as the final steel beam was placed on the top of the west stadium structure. That part of the stadium will feature a two-tier press box, new restrooms and concession stands, and a multipurpose meeting room.

Renovations on the east stadium will begin this fall. When it is complete, the high school will have a premier athletic facility that perhaps can be used for statewide events, but the community will also have a facility for other events with the new meeting room.

“This project has been a labor of love, first from the Martin family and then from the Grand Island community,” GIPS Foundation Executive Director Traci Skalberg said. “When Lanny Martin dreamed of honoring the memory of his father, Jack, by investing in this incredible asset for Grand Island, collectively, you all rose to the challenge. We are all grateful for your investment.”

We salute Lanny Martin and the community members who are involved in raising the money to complete this project, as well as Grand Island Public Schools for recognizing the importance of updating Memorial Stadium for the community’s future.

Nebraska Strong — again

We also salute all the volunteers who turned out in Wood River and Alda to help with sandbagging as the communities tried to hold off the flooding that has been so devastating in the Lexington, Kearney and Gibbon areas.

Once again, like happened in March, people came from great distances to help, saying that they know that if they were in a similar situation, people from here would be helping them.

With more notice and time to prepare, Central Nebraska has fared better this time, but there are still many people struggling with the flooding. It will be some time before everyone has recovered from the ravages of Mother Nature.

But we know that Nebraska will remain strong, coming together to withstand this natural disaster.

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