A hearty Saturday Salute goes this week to Stephanie Crosby, who is spearheading a project to place a historical marker commemorating the June 3, 1980, tornadoes that struck Grand Island and the community’s recovery from all the damage they did.

Crosby has received approval from both History Nebraska and the Grand Island City Council for the marker and plans to raise $6,000 for its installation.

Seven tornadoes struck Grand Island over a period of about three hours on that day almost 40 years ago. Crosby hopes to raise enough money to be able to install the historical marker in time to have a dedication ceremony on the 40th anniversary next June.

Her plan is to place the marker in Ryder Park near Tornado Hill, a hill created with the debris collected during the cleanup after the tornadoes.

That day more than 39 years ago was a turning point for Grand Island as it spurred the extensive development that has taken place along South Locust Street since then. Yet, there isn’t anything in the community commemorating the experience and the way the community came together to recover after the loss of five people and more than $200 million in damage done by the tornadoes.

Anyone wanting to donate to the cause can do so by writing a check to the Nebraska Historical Society and mailing it to Livingston-Sondermann Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 601 N. Webb Road, Grand Island, NE 68803.

If more than $6,000 is raised, Crosby said she hopes to install a bench next to the historical marker with the names of the five people who died in the 1980 tornadoes.

We salute Crosby and encourage the community to come together again to fund this project.

CCC does much to help vets

We also salute Central Community College for its support of veterans as its Veterans and Military Resource Center has been named the top center in the country by Military Times.

For the seventh consecutive year, Military Times has named CCC’s VRMC as the top center in its best colleges 2020 rankings. CCC is the only Nebraska community college to make the list, and finished ahead of community colleges in Michigan, Florida, Texas and Minnesota.

The institutions were evaluated in five categories: university culture, student support, academic policies, academic outcomes/quality, cost and financial aid. College culture and student support carried the greatest weight in the evaluation, and many other factors not listed were also considered.

Regarding CCC’s No. 1 ranking, the Military Times website says: “This school differentiates itself by going well above and beyond what those rules require, providing in-state tuition to vets who left the military many years ago, to vets who are unable to maintain continuous enrollment, and even to vets who are out of GI Bill benefits.”

Just this week, CCC and its Student Veterans Association hosted a flag-raising ceremony on Monday for Veterans Day. Also, there were events planned at the college’s veterans center, which is in Room 444, all this week.

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