NE Diplomats honor Broken Bow

LINCOLN -- Broken Bow received top honors Friday from the Nebraska Diplomats, the non-governmental arm of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, as the Governor Dave Heineman and Nebraska Diplomat President Jeffrey Scherer presented Broken Bow Mayor Cecil Burt with one of two Community of the Year awards. The community of Wisner was also so honored. “It is a tremendous honor,” reflected Custer Economic Development President Melissa Garcia. “It is an amazing validation of what the people of Broken Bow have worked so hard on for the past several years.” Mayor Burt echoed Garcia’s sentiments. “The community has some awesome people who make things happen. It’s the people of Broken Bow who made this happen.” A press release issued by the organization had this to say: “Broken Bow has become a thriving regional center in north central Nebraska with a population of 3,500 people and a 60 percent workforce that travels into the city from throughout the region. “About a dozen years ago, Broken Bow’s city and business leaders came together to talk about ways in which to stem the outflow of businesses. They came up with a vision to create a centralized community hub that served Custer County and other surrounding communities. “In 2003, the privately-funded Custer Economic Development Corporation was formed to lead the charge. Since then a brand new Custer Campus of higher education was build, the hospital was fully renovated and remains debt free, 16 new businesses opened during 2011 and numerous other city improvements have been made.” According to Garcia, $13 million was spent last year for the development of new and existing businesses. A little over $11 million was spent by the city (Broken Bow) in improvements. This is something the community of Broken Bow accomplished together. It isn’t the work of any one group, it is the whole of the community working together that was honored explained Garcia. “That’s what sets this amazing community apart.”Also honored Friday evening were MWI Direct and the Omaha World Herald, as businesses of the year; Black Hills Energy received the Power in Partnership Award; Pete Kotsiopulos was honored with the Ambassador Penipotentiary Award and Terry McMullen was named, the Diplomat of the Year. With a membership of more than 325 business executives and community leaders, the Nebraska Diplomats Inc., is the largest economic development organization in Nebraska. The yearly ‘Passport Weekend’ hosted representatives from California, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania and Virginia as well as China and Korea. “It was a wonderful evening,” Loren Taylor remarked.