Community Service Awards presented at Popcorn Day

Julie Davis
Hamburg Reporter

The 2021 Community Service Awards, sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of Hamburg and the Hamburg community, were presented before the Popcorn Day Kiddie and Big Parades marched down Main Street on Sept. 11.

Honored with this year’s awards were Chris Bennett, the Colonial Theatre, the St. Cecilia Choir, and Steve “Turk” and Pat Kamman. 

Bennett, who moved to Hamburg with her family as a teenager, was recognized for her work with the children of the community.

Bennett’s work with youth began in the 1970s when she helped school nurse Beverly Dooley test elementary school students for various things.

She also served as a Girl Scout leader, a TeamMates mentor, andas treasurer of the library board, as well as working on the Heritage Hall Project and Hometown Pride.

Bennett has been involved with the United Trinity Church youth group in the past and “most likely will again.” She and her husband Wayne have two sons, three granddaughters, and a great granddaughter, “so she has and most likely always will have an interest in helping children,” according to her nomination form.

The St. Cecilia Choir formed more than 90 years ago, when Louvena Good invited nine ladies to gather for the purpose of promoting interest in music.  This year, choir members Teri Emberton and Verlaine Hall were in attendance to accept the choir’s award.

The Saint Cecilia Choir has begun rehearsals for its 92nd annual Christmas Vespers. The first Christmas Eve after the club was formed in 1929, a truck with an old-fashioned organ on it transported the choir around Hamburg, where they sang carols at any home with a candle in the window. In 1930, the very first Christmas Vespers concert was given at the Baptist Church.

Since then, the choir has performed at Christmas and Easter, for rededications of church sanctuaries, at nursing homes, with the Hamburg high school band, on KMA Radio and KETV, and at the dedication of Grape Community Hospital in 1968.

These days, the choir only presents its annual Christmas Vespers.  Every year, one concert is held in Hamburg, and a second is presented in a southwest Iowa, southeast Nebraska, or northwest Missouri location.

Since the choir’s inception, donations from freewill offerings collected at performances have been made to school fund drives, war efforts, the Red Cross, and Grape Community Hospital. Currently, the Saint Cecilia Choir gives scholarships to young ladies who participate in music in college. 

The Colonial Theatre is celebrating its centennial in 2021. In 1919, Howard Colon advertised in an Omaha paper seeking bids for a theatre in Hamburg, with an estimate of $30,000 for construction. 

The Colonial’s doors opened in 1921, and the theater has hosted live shows and silent movies, as well as now presenting the newest industry standard digital movies.

“Today, we celebrate our 100th anniversary with a $130,000 exterior renovation,” said Erica Roup in accepting the award. “Over the next few months, the building will receive new windows and doors, a decorative awning, and the tuck pointing will be finished.”

“All this would not be possible without the support of our community and loyal movie goers,” she said. 

Turk and Pat Kamman have been long-standing community members who have owned Hamburg Oil for more than 25 years. 

Their quiet, humble community involvement has included donating to school activities, hosting and sponsoring fund-raising golf tournaments, supporting students through the purchase of newspaper ads, and even paying for Hamburg’s July 4th fireworks show when donations may not have covered the costs.

After the 2019 flood forced the Kammans to live in a camper for a time, they quickly reopened Hamburg Oil, according Judy Holliman of the Kiwanis Club of Hamburg, who presented the award. 

They provided fuel for the levee workers and a place of normalcy when things were not so normal in Hamburg.

“Turk and Pat Kamman are examples of resilient, kind, caring community members,” said Holliman. [As a friend said] “They always think of others before themselves and would do whatever they could for anyone.”

Also recognized for their years of service were the members of American Legion Hubert Woodward Post No. 156, and the post members were the grand marshals for the 2021 Popcorn Day Big Parade.

Lana Brandt, who presented the award, noted some of the post’s past accomplishments in Hamburg, including leading the Big Parade as the event’s color guard.

Post members have provided and distributed Christmas food baskets, donated school supplies to teachers, and sponsored the memorial brick program surrounding the Freedom Rock.

Post members have also sponsored Legion baseball, sent high school students to Boys State, loaned medical equipment to community members in need, and visited veterans at the Omaha VA hospital. Legion and Legion Auxiliary members have also presented many programs on patriotism to Hamburg school students. 

Each Memorial Day, post members remember those who have given their lives for their country with a special program at the City Park. Post members then proceed to four area cemeteries for ceremonies that include three-shot volleys and Taps.

The American Legion color guard honors their comrades at the graveside when requested by their families, said Brandt. The burial service includes a three-shot volley, folding the service member’s casket flag, and Taps. 

Post officers are Harry Adams, post commander; Ron Brumley, adjutant; Mike Stenzel, chaplain; and John Travis, sergeant-at-arms.

Parade winners were as follows:

High School and Middle School bands

First: Rock Port High School. Second: Sidney High School.

First: Shenandoah Middle School. Second: Essex Middle School.

Kiddie Parade winners were

First: Chloe and Dylan Pitzen: Poppin’ with Pride

Second: Willa and Lane Stephens and Evan Chesnut: Building Memories and Popping with Hometown Pride

Third: Uriyah Swaink, Zander and Olivia Wilson, Mackenna and Jazelynn Mather: Poppin’ with Pride because We’re Insured with Oswald Crow

Teri Emberton and Verlaine Hall accepted the Community Service Award for the St. Cecilia Choir.
American Legion Hubert Woodward Post No. 156 Commander Harry Adams accepted the post’s Community Service Award during the Saturday, Sept. 11, presentation.
Turk and Pat Kamman
Chris Bennett received a Community Service Award from the Kiwanis and the Hamburg community at the 59th annual Popcorn Day.
Erica Roup accepted the Community Service Award for the Colonial Theatre.