|Diane Vicars and Jerry Davison|
As past president Laureen Riedesel noted, Jerry Davison had a true vision for what Homestead National Monument of America could and should be. In his time on the Board, he was willing to do whatever was needed and shared his vast leadership experience with other groups for the benefit of Homestead National Monument. She went on to observe that Don Weldon accepted leadership of the Friends following a huge capitol project with the Heritage Center. His ideas and activities helped to take support for the Homestead to an exciting new level. She concluded her remarks with “We have been very fortunate to have such true Friends of Homestead.”
During Mr. Davison’s 12 years of service to the Friends of Homestead his contributions were truly monumental. He played a critical role in the development and organization of the Volunteer Senior Ranger Program, a program became a model for other Friends groups to follow and he has been called upon to talk to other groups and land managers from across our Nation. His efforts within the volunteer program brought National Recognition to Homestead as well as a special award from Nebraska's First Lady with the 2005 Outstanding Community Service Award. He was instrumental in organizing and distributing a quarterly newsletter and visitor information cards. As a constant champion when it comes to promoting Homestead National Monument of America, Mr. Davison worked with numerous organizations, groups and individuals in making sure the story of Homestead National Monument of America was told. His greatest accomplishment just may be the creation of the Homestead Congress, a communications group, organized to promote and communicate the work of Homestead National Monument of America. While this group is fairly new in its creation, the long-term benefit of this organizations’ work is expected to have a long lasting benefit on Homestead National Monument of America.
Dr. Weldon served as a board member, vice president, and president of the Friends of Homestead from 2006 to 2010. During his tenure, he was instrumental with many efforts and projects that will have a long term positive effect on Homestead National Monument of America. The Friends and the Monument are indebted to Dr. Weldon for his work which included: his effort to have Nebraska’s Homestead National Monument of America placed on the America the Beautiful National Park 2015quarter series, his leadership in seeing the Shum Property converted from row crops to native prairie, a partnership project with the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program administered by the US Department of Agriculture that will one day provide an extended tall grass prairie eco system and expand recreational and educational opportunities for the citizens of our Nation, and his promotion of renaming Homestead National Monument of America to Homestead National Historical Park. He has suggested and watched the implementation of visitor programs such as the Bird and Bagel Walk and improved services for visitors with disabilities. It was under his leadership that the Homestead Congress was created (http://homesteadcongress.blogspot.com/).
Without a doubt Homestead National Monument of America will forever benefit from Mr. Davison’s and Dr. Weldon's work.