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Nominate a neighbor for one of Nebraska's most prestigious volunteerism awards

Dennis Hynes, 80, was the 2023 Veteran Volunteer Honoree. He's given thousands of hours over the years to veteran causes, Fontenelle Forest and Durham Museum.
Posted at 3:21 PM, May 20, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Understanding what ServeNebraska is about starts with the people it celebrates: Volunteers like Dennis Hynes. He 'stepped forward' years ago, and has given an incredible amount of time to make our communities better.

Continue reading to learn about Dennis.

If you know someone who goes the extra mile, ServeNebraska wants to hear from you. The nomination deadline is June 1. Click here for the form and to learn about the different categories.

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"I always tell people, when they retire, 'Whatever you do, don't just sit there and watch TV. Go out and find something you wanna do.'"

Having served in the Air Force for nearly 28 years, Dennis Hynes says pouring back into communities was part of the culture. It's also how he was raised.

"First time I volunteered was when my dad said, 'We're going to church to mow the grass and you and your brother are gonna go out and pick up sticks.' So that was my first volunteering experience," he recalled.

In the 1970s, Hynes started volunteering at Fontenelle Forest. He has spent thousands of hours since doing that, supporting veteran causes and teaching about exhibits at The Durham. Managers there nominated Hynes for a ServeNebraska Step Forward Award.

Cathleen Plager, executive director of ServeNebraska, says Governor Jim Pillen makes the final award decisions. Last year, he chose Hynes as the Veteran Volunteer Honoree. Plager points out that Nebraskans don't give their time for the recognition, but recognizing volunteerism of all kinds is important.

"It makes our communities look better. Feel better. And become stronger eventually," she explained.

For ServeNebraska, the keys are commitment and impact.

"Just take the time to recognize someone doing good in your community," Plager encouraged, as the 2024 nomination window is open.

THE NOMINATION DEADLINE IS JUNE 1: https://www.serve.nebraska.gov/

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