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Honoring Heroes Among Us

Watching families care for one another, their friends, and their community was behind our idea for the Here’s to the Heroes campaign.

Here's to the Heroes

Honoring the loved ones of families is what Roper & Sons Funeral Home in Lincoln, Nebraska has been doing since 1901. Watching generations of families care for one another, their neighbors and friends, and their community was behind our idea for the First Annual Here’s to the Heroes campaign we started this year. “Recognizing the selfless service that we see everyday among us is what inspired us to establish the Here’s to the Heroes Award this year,” said Rebecca Kouma, Director of Outreach and Marketing at Roper & Sons.

Nominations came from across the Lincoln area. Heroes like teachers, caregivers, and neighbors doing simple acts of kindness to extraordinary work in the community – examples of what it means to be someone’s hero. We heard tales of hospice workers who took that extra step, neighbors who organized meal preparations to help a family when someone was ill, teachers who spent extra time with their students when unexpected strife manifested, and public servants who invested their off-hours and emotional energy to help when things felt confusing.

Winner and Finalists

Narrowing the list of nominees was difficult for Roper & Sons’ selection committee because we felt every person was deserving of the award. Three nominees were chosen as finalists. Rose Hood Buss, Executive Director of The HUB in Lincoln, was named the 2022 recipient of the first-annual Here’s to the Heroes Award.

Under Rose’s direction, The HUB has been providing opportunities for youth to attain a high school diploma or GED certification, access job skills training and make business connections in the community, and be empowered to follow their dreams. She has helped The HUB receive numerous grants and funding to improve the lives of so many in our community.

Rose is a hands-on leader, someone who shows up at The HUB on a Saturday morning to help volunteers with projects and who stays late to help the Project Everlast group. She brings in speakers and presenters to help young people learn skills like cooking and budgeting. Rose worked tirelessly to make sure that young moms had diapers, wipes, and formula during the pandemic. She is a friendly face to young adults who may not have seen very many of those. Everything Rose does is done with genuine care, love, support, and encouragement for a brighter future.

Two individuals were selected as finalists for the Here’s to the Heroes Award – Patty Niemann and Ava.

Patty Niemann was selected because of her role in developing the Eastridge Hospice Singers. After reading an article in the paper about such a choir in Hastings, Nebraska, Patty thought that would be an important group to have in Lincoln. Eastridge Presbyterian where Patty is a member provided the seed money and rehearsal space. There are about 35 individuals from many different denominations who make up the Eastridge Hospice Singers. Choir members are trained in Hospice care from Tabitha and HoriSun Hospice. They sing in care facilities and in private homes and perform over 100 visits a year.

Patty pours her heart and energy into this project. She works countless hours in contacting Hospice agencies, family members, and choir members setting up times for visits. She finds special music for each visit that is tailored to the individual receiving hospice care. The choir has been a labor of love for everyone involved. Many times the choir’s singing affects not only the person receiving hospice care but the family, friends, and nursing staff who witness this ministry.

Ava is 9-years-old and was nominated by her grandfather who was involved in an explosion on January 31, 2019. In the process of saving three lives that night, her grandfather was injured and lost his left leg. To this day, he deals with pain and anguish that many times makes him want to give up, but then he looks around and sees that Ava is there for him. Although scared herself, she has inspired her grandfather to carry on. While he has been recognized for heroism with many awards, Ava’s grandfather feels that she is the real hero for giving him the strength to keep going. “Brave Ave” as her family refers to her is brave, kind, caring, and already a leader who will do great things in her life.

We are honored to recognize Rose, Patty, and Ava and all of the nominees as winners in our hearts. We continue to be inspired by the courage and kindness from the people we help every day.


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