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Monthly Archives: December 2021

Cozy Wraps Delivery The Day Before Christmas


On the afternoon of December 23 a couple of ladies in the Cozy Wrap group dropped off some items they had knitted and Carolyn put them with what she had finished and Bob and her planned one last delivery to the Lydia House at the Open Door Mission on the morning of December 24. Lydia House is a shelter for women and a part of the Open Door Mission. Carolyn said that they delivered 29 handmade items to Lydia House consisting of baby items, scarfs, headbands and a 14 baby blankets. Kristin accepted the donations and told Carolyn that the items were very much in need.

Submitted by Carolyn Wolkins – Pictures by Bob Wolkins

Care Bears Lincoln, NE Pioneer Volunteers


In 2019 Helen Loyd and Sherry Lynn Riddle moved to Lincoln, NE and continued their pioneer volunteer work. They started to make tote like bags, hug bears and blankets in their home. They connected with the Lincoln Police Department to distribute the items they were making for those in need. Their in house connection at the police department was Dawn Moore. Dawn is the office specialist that collects and helps distribute the items to those in need. Helen and Sherry Lynn had Dawn over to their home to show her the work that they have finished this year for her to distribute. Helen and Sherry Lynn made 98 hug bears, 103 tote bags and 4 blankets.

Submitted by Sherry Lynn Riddle

Heartland Council Pioneers Life Member Lunch 12/7/2021

Omaha Works Pioneers Christmas Life Member Luncheon December 7, 2021

On December 7 the Heartland Council sponsored a Life Member Luncheon for all the retirees of the Omaha Works, 1956 – 2011. There was also a food drive in connection with the luncheon. Chapter president Bob Wolkins left to deliver the donated food to the Salvation Army when the luncheon was over.

The LML had over 112 retirees attending the luncheon. They enjoyed the comradery with old friends from work and voted after the meal to keep the luncheon at Anthony’s in 2022.

This year we were able to get a number of surplus promotional items from Pioneer headquarters. Judy wrapped the items and held a grab bag and everyone got a surprise gift.

TurkeyFest In Omaha NE On Thanksgiving 2021

TurkeyFest delivers record 1,562 Thanksgiving meals to those in need

TurkeyFest Celebrates 30 Years

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TurkeyFest Celebrates 30 Years
Nov 24, 2021


Volunteer Deb Grady will arrive at the Kroc Center by 5 a.m. on Thanksgiving morning – something she’s been doing every Thanksgiving for more than two decades. Grady coordinates 20 or so volunteers from Heartland Pioneers, many of whom worked for Western Electric, AT&T and CommScope and have been helping to prepare Thanksgiving meals for TurkeyFest since its inception in 1991.

Originally called the Telephone Pioneers of America, the group focused on a variety of community service projects. In the early days of their partnership with The Salvation Army, Telephone Pioneers volunteers cooked the turkeys in their own home kitchens and then delivered them to The Salvation Army on Thursday morning to be delivered to older adults later that day.

In 1991, TurkeyFest volunteers delivered 40 meals. This year The Salvation Army anticipates that 1,200 Thanksgiving dinners will be distributed to older adults in Omaha.

“I love the camaraderie, everyone doing their part and in tune with one another,” said Grady, who prepares Thanksgiving dinner for her own family on Wednesday so she is free to help out at TurkeyFest on Thanksgiving morning. “And we have fun! We enjoy ourselves back there in the kitchen.”

Grady retired in 2011 from Connectivity Solutions Manufacturing, a former division of CommScope, where she worked in the print shop. But she has stayed in touch with many of her colleagues through TurkeyFest.

“It’s a nice opportunity to see people that we don’t ordinarily connect with except at this time of the year,” she said.

Grady doesn’t have plans to step down from her TurkeyFest duties anytime soon. “I’ve made mashed potatoes for TurkeyFest for more years than I can count,” she said. “It’s just part of my Thanksgiving tradition.”

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Omaha Man Spends Nearly 30 Thanksgivings Giving Back To The Community

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By Ashly Richardson
Published: Nov. 25, 2021 at 1:53 PM CST|Updated: 20 hours ago
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Thanksgiving is a day Doug Thoms holds near to his heart.



For three decades he has been volunteering for the Salvation Army’s Turkey Fest.

“I’ve been involved in turkey fest in one way or another from washing dishes to cutting turkeys, from washing the peas or string beans doing the mash potatoes. Just about anything they need me to do, I do,” said Thoms.

Doug is part of a much larger tradition. It started 30 years ago with workers from the Western Electric phone company.

The group is called the pioneers and Doug is one of the many that continues to carry on the tradition even after the company closed its doors in Omaha.

“It closed about 10 years ago so the volunteers are still going on and doing what we’ve always done. We won’t let stop us,” said Thoms.

Today they are helping to dish out nearly 1,200 meals to those in need. The process works like an assembly line and once it’s boxed up, it gets delivered.

“It will go all over to individual residences that can’t get out. So the people that are in wheelchairs or shut-ins, that are sick or whatever reason. That’s one of the criteria so it’s delivered to house and nursing homes,” said Kevin Newlin, Turkey Fest Chef.

The Salvation Army says the need has grown this year because of the pandemic. And with more people needing a warm meal this holiday, Doug says it’s as important as ever to give back to the community.

“I always say that it takes a village and it does take a village. We look at this as not an I, I situation but a we situation. We need to get out and help people that are less fortunate than us.”