2023 Dawes County Good Neighbor Award Recipients


The Good Neighbor Award was given statewide for many years by the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben and the Omaha World-Herald for years, but both discontinued the program. 

Since good deeds are still taking place, the Dawes County Fair Board and Hall of Fame Selection Committee revived the award locally last year with Associated Brokers of Chadron sponsoring the certificates. 

By Con Marshall

Good Neighbor Certificates will be presented this year to 4 individuals who in the past year went way above and beyond the ordinary to provide crucial help in a desperate time of need, and to a group dedicated to remembering veterans for their service to our country.

Rick Deans, who lives on the Table 15 miles south of Chadron, nominated his close neighbors, Howard and Teyre Felz. Here’s his description of them:

 “They are always available to assist anyone with their machinery and anything else that is needed. They also host neighborhood parties and invite people from miles around. I can’t imagine better neighbors than Howard and Teyre.”

Another of the honorees will be the “Crawford Quilt Makers,” women who have joined forces and are dedicated to making and presenting “Quilts of Valor” to U.S. military veterans who reside in western Dawes and northern Sioux counties.

They have made more than 90 of the quilts and are still counting. Several recipients of these beautiful and cherished quilts decided to reciprocate by nominating these talented and patriotic ladies for the Good Neighbor Award.

Then there are “the blizzard beaters,” who demonstrated this past winter that near-disasters often bring out the best in people. Each story shows a dedication to assisting those in dire need during extremely unfavorable conditions.

One of them is Jim Moore of Whitney. He was nominated by Tom and Dixie Thompson, also of Whitney.

Just before Thanksgiving, the Thompsons learned that Tom would need 45 radiation treatments in Scottsbluff, beginning in December. They planned to return to Whitney every weekend, but it didn’t happen.

The December and January blizzards and Tom’s needs kept them in Scottsbluff until the end of January. Meanwhile, Moore took care of the Thompsons’ home.

“He went there twice a day, put heaters and fans in crucial places, opened up places that could freeze and gave it lots of tender, loving care. Our pipes did not freeze,” Dixie wrote.

Then in early February, Tom needed emergency surgery. “Once again,” she said, “Jim Moore took care of our home. We live in a most wonderful community. Kade and Kord Keim kept our deck and sidewalks shoveled. Lots of prayers were answered.”

Willie Cogdill, the owner of Cogdill Feeds on the west side of Chadron, is another Good Neighbor Award recipient.

In mid-December when the blizzard hit with 25 inches of snow, sub-zero temperatures, and howling winds, Cogdill was at the right place at the right time and came to the rescue of a desperate rancher, Chrystal Schuhmacher.

She alerted Willie that about 25 of her cattle had escaped their pasture and drifted something like five miles into Chadron.

Willie quickly constructed a pen out of panels he had in stock at his business, used a couple of pickups and trailers for “wings,” and with Chrystal’s help, coaxed the herd into the pen. He fed the cattle three big round bales and watered them for four days until the blizzard had subsided and they could be transported back home

Bruce Scheopner noticed this good deed and nominated Cogdill for the award.

The other “Good Neighbor” is Neal Soester. Jim and Linda West, who live in the north end of Chadron, witnessed this saga and nominated him for the honor.

The Wests have lived in Chadron since 1988 and said they had never experienced such a fierce storm. Traffic was at a complete standstill with Bartlett Road was among those that were totally blocked.

Dan Rhembrandt lives on that road and receives dialysis care at the Chadron Community Hospital. Fortunately, Neal Soester knew about Dan’s predicament and rolled to the rescue.

The Wests continue the story: “The first motorized sound we heard was a big diesel payloader roaring back and forth, crashing through drifts and moving snow. Neal spent many hours opening Bartlett Road and south into Dan’s residence.

He also cleared a path to the east to Main Street. He had to do it again in a few days when the wind blew and blocked the road again. Thank God for a Good Neighbor. He cleaned out our driveway on the way by.”