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Category: Newsletter

Heartland Pioneers Connect With The Salvation Army Night Watch

On December 1, 2022 the Salvation Army began its 35th year and Judy Coffey from the Heartland Pioneer started volunteering with the Night Watch program. A few weeks later Judy got a phone call from a friend she knew. The freind told her she taken up knitting again and had made about 54 stocking hats.

She asked Judy if she knew of a place to donate them. Judy told her she knew of a group that would be happy to receive the stocking hats. After making a couple of phone calls Maria at the Salvation Army Disaster Service told Judy they had a current need for stocking hats and would like to have them. Judy stopped by and dropped off 54 stocking hats. .

The Salvation Army of Omaha begins its 35th year of Night Watch

The Salvation Army of Omaha loaded up its trucks and set up in two different locations in Omaha Wednesday night for the 35th year of the Winter Night Watch program.

The program is aimed to help the homeless and near-homeless by handing out food and winter apparel such as hats, coats, gloves and socks.

“It’s just so critical for those who are just trying to literally just survive out there on the streets,” Capt. Kelsie Moreno with The Salvation Army said.

The trucks set up five nights a week and go through the winter. Thomas Miller has volunteered with Night Watch for 12 years and says the gratitude for both volunteers and those being served goes both ways.

“They’re really gracious and really nice about receiving and I feel good about giving, so yeah, it works both ways,” Miller said.

The Salvation Army’s programs, like Night Watch, function in large part to volunteers. Captain Moreno says they are always in need of volunteers to help.

For those who prefer to donate instead of volunteer, The Salvation Army is always in need of winter coats. Those can be donated during regular business hours at any Salvation Army location.

Submitted by Judy Coffey

Heartland Council Pioneers Connect With Don MacKenzie Grants

The Don MacKenzie Charitable Foundation Grants Completed by the Heartland Council Pioneers in 2022 calendar year

TelecomPioneers Charitable Foundation (TPCF) Grants, now named the Don Mackenzie Grants, are grants for educational and/or charitable community service projects that make a significant impact in local communities and generate substantial recognition for the Pioneers. The annual Foundation grant awards are determined by the prior year’s investment earnings. The distribution allocation percentage to each group will be based on year-end membership numbers.

Pioneers takes a grassroots approach towards volunteerism, responding to the unique needs of our hometowns. Pioneers submit grant applications on behalf of the local schools/school systems and/or community service projects they support. The Foundation will fund local Pioneers educational and charitable activities, and not merely serve as a distributor of funds to unaffiliated schools/school systems or other organizations.

The strength of Pioneering is the volunteer. Pioneers projects are as diverse as the communities we serve. We take a grassroots approach towards volunteerism, responding to the unique needs of our hometowns. The Pioneers Charitable Foundation Fund (Foundation) provides grants for educational and/or charitable community service projects that make a significant impact in local communities and generate substantial recognition for the Pioneers.

Below are just our Don MacKenzie Grant Projects for the Pioneer Year of 2022 for the Heartland Council of New Outlook West Ch. 131. The last photo is a picture of our December 2022 Life Member Luncheon. The picture of the LML is just a reversal of the group and saved as one. It turned out as a eye catching photo and we decided to post it as one of our non-grant projects. Around 115 Omaha Works retiree enjoyed a great luncheon and get together. The Don MacKenzie projects will be listed in order.

  • 1. 31st TurkeyFest co-sponsored with the Salvation Army serving around 1500 meals annually at Thanksgiving
  • 2. The next is Hook and Needles that started in 1987 with 157 members.
  • 3. Line 3 is Care Bears of Lincoln, NE. They moved here from CA and are working with a number of groups doing community service in the name of Pioneering
  • 4. The Hug A Bears group started around 1991 or 1992 and had over 55 members at the time. From around 2000 to date the group has produced over 53,000 HAB’s. The lady that makes Quilts of Honor has been making them for some time. I encourage you to google Quilts of Valor and find out more about them
  • 5. We found out from a nurse at the Hospice House that there are items that they need all year and Heartland has been helping them secure the needed items
  • 6. The next is Bellevue, NE Food Bank. This was a new Grant Project of the Heartland Council
  • 7. Hot Fans is a project by the Salvation Army to provide fans to the elderly that need them during the hot months of the summer and Heartland Council buys fans and donate them to the drive each year
  • 8. The WCA is the go-to place for anyone in the Omaha area who is experiencing domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. This was also a new project this year
  • 9. This is a photo of Heartland Council’s Life Member Luncheon in December 2022. This is one of our non-grant projects that takes place 3 time a year. The picture was made to see what it looked like and turned into an eye catcher. Actually around 115 retiree’s of the Omaha Works enjoy the time together and the meal
N.O.W. Ch. 161 Heartland CouncilGrant NameRequested $ContactGrant fundedHeartland Council FundedTotal Spent
Heartland CouncilHooks & Needles$4,000Bob Wolkins$600.00$2,183.96$2,783.96
Heartland CouncilHug A Bears$4,000Bob Wolkins$600.00$40.19$640.19
Heartland CouncilTurkeyFest$3,000Bob Wolkins$1,835.00$623.58$2,458.58
Heartland CouncilCozy Wraps$4,000Bob Wolkins$3,000.00$17.61$3,017.61
Heartland CouncilCare Bears – Lincoln$2,500Bob Wolkins$500.00($25.45)$474.55
Heartland CouncilHot Fans$3,000Bob Wolkins$1,500.00$249.30$1,749.30
Heartland CouncilHospice Housel$700Bob Wolkins$600.00($278.46)$321.54
Heartland CouncilSunshine Project$500Bob Wolkins$360.00$144.47$504.47
Heartland CouncilWAC$1,500Bob Wolkins$1,150.00$3.63$1,153.63
Heartland CouncilFood Bank$2,000Bob Wolkins$1,150.00$1,350.00$2,500.00
 Total Funded by New Outlook Region$25,200NO Funding$11,295.00$4,308.83$15,603.83

Submitted by the Volunteers of Heartland Council Pioneers

Heartland Pioneers Christmas Luncheon December 6, 2022

Heartland Pioneers Christmas Life Member Luncheon 12/6/2022

Tuesday December 6 was a sun shiny day with the temperature around 49 degrees. This wasn’t a typical December Day in Nebraska. The doors to the DC Centre Banquet facility were set to open at 10:30 am and there was close to 35 pioneers waiting for the doors to open.

The luncheon began at about 11:30 am with the pledge of allegiance led by chair Judy Coffey. Barb Gray then delivered the blessing to the assembled group. Judy delivered her remarks and covered some problems we have encountered with US Post Office. We will be looking at some adjustments in the future so maybe we can get ahead of the Post Office. Judy showed the group a reservation that was delivered to the pioneers Post Office box, it was over a year late and a bit chewed up. The luncheon ended with a drawing to give away 4 free lunches for the April 25, 2023 LML.

After Judy had a couple of chairs deliver a few remarks about their projects (TurkeyFest and Hook & Needles) Vern Larson of the NRLN brought those that retired from Avaya up to date about what is taking place in Avaya. As Vern was talking the salads were delivered to the tables and shortly after he finished the two main courses were brought out to the tables. The total number at the LML was some where close to 110 attending. Judy thanked all for attending and said we hope to see you at the LML in April.

In conjunction with the Life Member Luncheon the Pioneers hold a food drive and ask those attending to bring staples to the luncheon to donate to the Salvation Army. N.O.W. Chapter 161 president Bob Wolkins reported that when he delivered the food items to the Salvation Army he was able to fill two 2 and 1/2 grocery carts with the donations from the luncheon.

Heartland Pioneers Bellevue Thanksgiving Food Bank Donation

This year for Thanksgiving, Heartland Council has purchased $2,500.00 worth of Turkey’s and other non-perishables for the food pantries in Bellevue. The three food pantries came together to ensure that food is distributed equally to the needy in the South Omaha and Bellevue area.

The total cost for this one day is over $10,000.00. Heartland Council is proud to help sponsor this effort. This year, we ordered Turkeys at a cost of 99 cents per pound, 125 Turkeys. This purchase will ensure that at least 125 families will have a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving this year. As you can see, our volunteers work very hard to fulfill the needs in this community.

Bob Wolkins knew of the need earlier this year at the food banks for the coming Thanksgiving and worked with Fareway Grocery to purchase the Turkey’s and non-perishables for Thanksgiving.

Submitted by Bob Wolkins

Cozy Wraps Makes a Delivery the Week Before Thanksgiving

The week before Thanksgiving Carolyn gather up the items she had knitted and the items a couple other knitters had dropped off at her home for delivery. Carolyn first dropped off 3 lap robes/shoulder wraps at Heritage Ridge. The receptionist told her that Lenore would distribute them. Carolyn and Bob then headed to Lydia House for the next delivery. Nancy the receptionist accepted the items on behalf of Lydia House that consisted of 8 baby blankets, 8 bath wraps, 4 pair of mittens and 4 pair of slippers. Both of the recipients of the donated items thanked Carolyn and the Heartland Pioneers for the donations. She was told all of the items are much appreciated.

Submitted by Carolyn Wolkins

Cozy Wraps Keeps Making Much Needed Items to Donate to Those in Need

This fall on September 15, Carolyn delivered 22 baby blankets to Lydia House investing 342 volunteer hours, on September 29 she had 2 scarfs, 8 head bands and 5 scarf/headband set she delivered taking 33 hours to make. Gwen accepted the baby blankets for Lydia house. Then on October 6 she delivered 6 lap robes/shoulder wraps to Heritage Ridge. Carolyn noted that she took 81 hours to make these items. Her volunteer hours totaled 456 for the items she made and donated. Chapter president Bob Wolkins thanked Carolyn for making and delivering these items. The hours were added to the Cozy Wraps total for the current year.

Submitted by Carolyn Wolkins – Photos by Bob Wolkins

NRLN Presidents Podcast – Things to Think About for Medicare Enrollment

NRLN President’s Forum Video/Podcast Things to Think About for Medicare Enrollment   The NRLN’s Series 2022, Episode #4 video/podcast, Preparation for Medicare Annual Enrollment Period is available on the NRLN website home page at My objective for this video/podcast is to emphasize the importance of being prepared for the enrollment period October 15 – December7 and to provide tips on how to do that so you can get the best deal.  

Don’t feel rushed, you don’t have to make final decisions early, for new coverage beginning January 1, 2023. Don’t succumb to the pressure of direct calls, TV commercials, or literature in your mailbox.  

Preparation is important whether you are considering selecting Original Medicare with or without a supplemental plan (Medigap) and a prescription drug plan or your other option, a private plan, Medicare Advantage. Get prepared before you call an insurance agent or an advertised 800 number!  

The most important step is to read and understand your copy of “Medicare and You 2023” handbook. Studying it could save you time and money, and it will build your confidence and competence. If you did not get the 2023 handbook in the mail you can get one by requesting it at or download it by simply clicking on the icon at the lower end of the center column at  

In the video/podcast I stress:
— Examine your economic situation, your affordability status
— Current health stats and prospects for continued good health 10 years from now
— Health history review of ancestors  

The rest of the video/podcast goes into details explaining our two choices, Original Medicare or a private plan, Medicare Advantage. After you view the video or listen to the podcast, you may want to refer to my show notes, including slides, to read details that may have passed to quickly. Click here to access the show notes on the NRLN video library webpage.  

Bill Kadereit,
President National Retiree Legislative Network

Thank You To Cozy Wraps From Open Door Mission and Lydia House

For the past few weeks I have been collecting finished handmade items from Pioneer volunteers. In the last few day we collected 13 baby blankets, 3 bankets with matching cocoons and hats and 3 cocoon and hat sets. On June 22 we delivered these items to ODM for distribution to Lydia House. They were accepted by the receptionist, Nancy.

Submitted By Carolyn Wolkins – Photo By Bob Wolkins