Back to Top

Heartland Pioneers Continue Thanksgiving Dinner 2020

TurkeyFest Check Presentation

The Heartland Pioneers continued their alliance with the Salvation Army and the Thanksgiving dinner they started with them around thirty some years ago.  In the beginning the pioneer volunteers prepared the dinners at their homes and then delivered everything to the Kroc Center on the night before Thanksgiving.  The pioneer cook, Bill Sucha, then prepared the potatoes and green beans while the volunteers sliced up the turkeys and all was ready to go early on Thanksgiving morning.  The first few years 300 meals were prepared and delivered by volunteers the Salvation Army assembled.  Now the Thanksgiving dinners are delivered to 1500 families in the Omaha Metro.  Other volunteers have taken over a lot of preparation of the meal.  The Heartland Pioneers have continued to supply volunteers over the years and this year the Heartland Pioneer Council presented a check for $1000.00 on November 19, 2020 to purchase turkeys for the Thanksgiving dinner.  The Pioneers plan to continue this Thanksgiving Dinner tradition with the Salvation Army.

Bob Wolkins, president Heartland Pioneers and Debbie Grady, Project Coordinator present check to Major Adams of the Salvation Army

Submitted by Bob Wolkins and Debbie Grady

Pioneering in New Territory: Ways to Volunteer from Home

Home Projects and Break Room/Lunch Room Projects

The following projects can be done in a break room or lunch room to involve members and prospective members for a brief time frame. This could peak their interest to volunteer for another project in the future. It lets our members see Pioneers in action. You will need someone present to track participants for reporting time.


Pioneer Group purchases Scholastic books to be donated to local schools. Dictionaries may be used as well. Make labels to go inside stating “Donated By (your group) Pioneers”. Give the group website and provide a place for a comment and signature if desired. Ask Volunteers to place the labels in the books, sign the decal and pack the books for delivery. Volunteers may be allowed to take the books to a school of their choice if the Group chooses. Be sure all volunteer time and volunteer names are recorded including delivery time.


Pioneer Group purchases small American Flags to be given to deploying American Soldiers. Volunteers fold the flags then place them in a small plastic bag with a “thank you” note. After folding, flag will be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. It can be carried in the Soldier’s chest pocket. For more information, see


Pioneer Group purchase or collect food items to be distributed to Food Banks, Homeless shelters, Schools, etc. Pioneers organize similar items together on a large table. Have volunteers take an empty box or basket and go around the table placing one of each item in the container. Have Volunteers fill all the containers and load them for delivery. Ask Volunteers if they would like to participate in the delivery. Be sure all volunteer time and names are recorded including delivery time.


Pioneer Groups print up 4×6 cards with the following: Pioneer Thank You Kit

Rubber Band                      You banded us together

Mints                                   Volunteers are worth a mint

Gum                                    Thanks for sticking with it

Toothpick                             To remind you to pick out the good in others

Pipe Cleaner                       To remind you to be flexible

Safety Pin                           To help you hold it all together

Penny                                  For good luck and prosperity

Rose Petal                          To remind you to stop and smell the roses

Foam Piece                         Thanks for being a “foam‐ible” force

Bead                                    Thanks for “beading” there

Pioneers gather all items and put them in separate bowls. As volunteers gather for a luncheon, they are given a baggie and told to place one of each item along with a card in each baggie.

Once all are seated, thank them for their participation, membership and Answering the Call of Those in Need in their communities.


Pioneer groups purchase or collect school supplies and backpacks. Place all like items together in groups on a large table or tables. Have volunteers take a backpack and place one item of each group in the backpack. Place completed backpack in a container for delivery. Then start with another backpack until all are filled. Ask volunteers to assist in loading the backpacks for delivery. Ask volunteers if any of them would like to assist with the delivery. Track all time and volunteer names including delivery time.


Pioneer Group purchase or collect toiletry items for distribution to shelters. Arrange like items on a large table or tables. Separate tables should be set up for men and women. Have volunteers take a container (bag, box, or etc.) and go around the table and place one of each item in the container. Place completed container in a delivery box. Then start with another container until completed. Ask volunteers to assist with loading the completed boxes for delivery. Ask volunteers if they would like to assist with delivery to the shelters. Track all time and volunteer names, including delivery time.


Pioneer Group collects used plastic shopping bags. Volunteers work with the bags to first cut them into plastic strips and then knit them into sleeping mats. Numerous instruction videos can be located by searching the internet for “sleeping mats for the homeless”.


Pioneer Group purchase or collect items to be placed in Christmas stockings as well as the stockings. Arrange like items on a large table or tables. Ask volunteers to take a stocking and

place one of each item in it. Place completed stocking in a delivery container. Start another stocking until all are completed. Ask volunteers to assist with loading the container for delivery. Ask volunteers if they would like to assist with the delivery. Track all time and volunteer names including delivery time.


Volunteers prepare bags with items to be given to Veterans. A Valentine card is signed by the volunteer and placed in each bag. The bags are taken to the veterans hospital or other location and given to the individuals.


This project is designed to help feed school age children who rely on school‐sponsored food programs for nourishing meals to get through the summer months. Volunteers are given a bag to fill along with a flyer. See attached example. Volunteers return the filled bag with requested items to the group coordinator. The coordinator arranges for delivery of the bags to the Local food bank or shelter.

Other projects‐

These are projects that might draw out participants that have special interests. A few examples are:

  1. Pioneer Playground Maps‐ Invite employees with children to help paint maps. Each volunteer works with their children.
  2. Help scouts earn badges through pioneer‐funded food donations.
  3. Nursing Home Bingo‐ Invite Pioneers to bring high school and college student s to participate and earn volunteer hours for school credit.
  4. CPR training‐can be set up thru the American Red Cross.
  5. Work with other groups (Letter Carriers Food Drive).
  6. Voter registration
  7. Partnership on projects with the CWA.
  8. Blood Drives held at work locations by working with the American Red Cross.
  9. Work with other employee groups.
  10. Set up cookie stations at work locations to say “thanks” for being a member.


We can’t afford to lose money holding a social but we don’t necessarily have to make money. Keep cost to a minimum.

  1. Life Members‐ Bring members together for an annual reunion. Have a very short program about projects completed and upcoming projects. Ask for volunteers. Invite partners, children and grandchildren of Pioneers to participate.
    1. Regular Members‐ Bring members together for an annual get together. Invite and plan theme around families. Short program about projects completed and upcoming projects. Ask for volunteers. Invite partners and children of pioneers to participate.

Other Thoughts‐

These are items to consider as you plan projects and activities around getting more members involved.

  1. Find out what members are interested in.
  2. Meet them where they are. You have to go to them, they won’t come to you.
  3. Remember, what you think is fun might be old and stodgy to others.
  4. Have projects on Saturdays and finish up by noon if possible.
  5. Design projects around the younger generation.
  6. Encourage Family participation.
  7. Engage upper managers when possible.
  8. Use social media to advertise events.
  9. Always say “thanks for volunteering”.

These are just a few thoughts and we’re sure you have many more ideas. The key factor is to have fun. It brings out new participants and keeps them coming back.

Thanks for all you do in Pioneering.

Hug A Bears and Steve Dawkins – Heartland Pioneers

Steve Dawkins and his wife Marcy took over the Hug A Bear project in late 1999 as co-chairs.  When Marcy passed away Steve took over as chair of the Hug A Bears and continued on.  Steve has carried on for a total of twenty-one year’s producing thousands of Bears.  During this pandemic the group hasn’t been able to meet to make Bears.  At this time Steve has concluded that it is time for him to give up being the chair of the group.  He will continue to help as much as he can as the group moves forward.  The total number of Bears that the group has produced under Steve leadership has been 50,406.  At this time all of us in pioneering wish to say Thank You Steve for your dedication.









FIRE DEPT # 43 AND # 44









From all of the officers past and present of the Heartland Pioneers and everyone that has worked with the group making Hug A Bears we say Thank You Steve Dawkins

Posted by the Webmaster from President Bob Wolkins

Lucent / Nokia Chapter NRLN


THE LUCENT RETIREES ORGANIZATION (LRO) was chartered in January 2003 in the state of New York. Its purpose is to address the interests of 127,000 individuals under the Lucent pension plan that embodies all Lucent and Bell Labs retirees, including those who retired when the company was known as Western Electric and/or AT&T Network Systems, plus subsidiaries such as Teletype and Sandia.   Western Electric — AT&T Network Systems Division — Lucent Technologies — Alcatel Lucent and NOW: NOKIA!! Throughout, the Lucent Retirees Organization — your LRO — has done its best to represent the interests of its retirees with whatever of the foregoing names. AND all retirees can be assured that the LRO will continue to make sure that company promises made to all of us are kept — no matter the latest corporate name or headquarters location!!”   And now we have teamed as a chapter of the National Retirees Legislative Network. The remaining Nokia issues of pensions, life and health care insurance increasingly require lobbying Congress for national solutions. Benefits, including pensions, life insurance, prescription drug costs, Social Security and Medicare are ongoing national issues that face Lucent / Nokia retirees and former Lucent employees who will retire from Nokia in the future and most if not all other NRLN association, chapter and individual members. These issues will impact our kids and grandkids in the future if our generation doesn’t address them now.   Your Chapter will continue the fight, with the support of two million other NRLN retirees and professional staff to lobby for legislation that will protect current and future retirees. The NRLN has the numbers, experience on Capitol Hill and the expertise to influence legislation. The LRO’s 17,000 retirees represents a powerful component of that force. Your active participation can make a difference.   Over the years over 17,000 retirees have been members, and over 13.000 are still active. Membership is open to current retirees with a Lucent pension, a person vested for a Lucent pension, or the spouse of any such retiree or vested person. JOIN US to receive email updates.


Submitted by Webmaster

Southwest Chapter 136 – Eastern Missouri Council – Council President Judy Herbst’s Husband Passed Away

Harry “Glen” Herbst
He was a member of St. Louis Family Church, a Board of Director Emeritus at Pond Athletic Association, retired Associate Engineer at Lucent Technologies/AT&T/Western Electric, cherished youth baseball and softball coach, a Mineral Area College Alumnus, proud Vietnam Veteran, and a devoted Kentucky Wildcat fan.

Beloved husband to Judy Herbst of Wildwood, Missouri; loving father of Dionna (Austin) Helfers of Labadie, Missouri; Todd (Tanya) Norman of Cape Coral, Florida; Lora (Monty) Duke of Wingo, Kentucky; dear brother of Mary (Terry) Mabery of Highland, Illinois; brother-in-law to Larry Richard of Town and Country, Missouri; Tammy (Jerry) Hall of Sarasota, Kentucky; loving Papa Glen to 8 grandchildren: Ryan (Brandi) Duke, Lindsay (Matt) Ross, Alex Carollo, Marcus Norman, Brody Norman, William Helfers, Addison Helfers, Carson Helfers; 7 great grandchildren: Levi Frizzell, Abigail Frizzell, Jonah Duke, Georgia Duke, Hannah Ross, Paige Ross, Kyle Ross; uncle to Tanner Hall of Sarasota, Kentucky; Tyler Hall of Wingo, Kentucky; Shelley (Chris) Ball of Valparaiso, Indiana; Brett Mabery of York, Nebraska; great uncle to Michael (Romi) Ball of Summerville, South Carolina; Brandon Ball of Summerville, South Carolina; Bryce, Payton and Juliana Ball of Valparaiso, Indiana, Cousin to many, a loving “Papa Glen” and friend to everyone he met. He was the proud son of the late Earl and Irene Herbst.

Services at St. Louis Family Church, Chesterfield, Missouri, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 11:00 a.m., Burial will follow at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy can be made to the children of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the youth baseball and softball program at Pond Athletic Association, P.O. Box 111, Wildwood, MO 63040. Visitation at the SCHRADER Funeral Home and Crematory, 14960 Manchester Road at Holloway, Ballwin, Missouri, Monday, September 28, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life is planned for Sunday, September 27, 2020 from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Pond Athletic Association in Wildwood, Missouri.

Schrader Funeral Home and Crematory
14960 Manchester Road
Holloway, Ballwin, Missouri

Submitted by New Outlook Region Director Elaine Housley

Atlantic Coast Chapter 133 Food Bank Project

Mission Lexington Food Bank

L to R Pioneers Don and Anne Mellen with Mission Lexington, SC director of the Mission Lexington food bank, Lauren Palkowski

Pioneers Anne and her husband Don (both retirees of Bell Labs) are working independently in Lexington making a donation to the Mission Lexington Food Bank. There is no pioneer council or club located close to Lexington, SC, so they are working through the Atlantic Coast Chapter 133. Anne and Don both retired from the Bell Labs in NJ and they have retired to their home in Lexington, SC.

Mission Lexington Food Bank
Mission Lexington has been meeting the needs of Lexington County, SC residents in crisis. Originally founded in 1978, Mission Lexington today is the hub of care for Lexington County, assisting families and individuals with life essentials, resources, and guidance. We meet over 35,000 needs in Lexington County each year. Our partner network includes local businesses and government agencies, corporations, organizations individuals and more than 50 member churches who sustain our vision daily. Today we offer a thriving thrift store, food pantry, donation center, and social services and guidance.

Submitted by Pioneers Anne and Don Mellen

Santa Goodwill Tour 2020 – Omaha, NE

What is a Santa Goodwill Tour?
Since 1985 civic organization members, as well as like-minded, adventurous people from all over the US and Canada have been traveling internationally, and have visited almost every continent! They stay in superb accommodations, are fascinated by the interesting commentary of the cities’ best guides, and thoroughly enjoy camaraderie with great travelers. During their time abroad, a goodwill visit is prearranged, such as to a home for the blind, aged, orphanages, a hospital – and the party begins! Wearing festive colorful “Santa” costumes during the goodwill visits travelers spend time with locals in need, making for a very special experience. Between the elegant hotels, best guides, incredible sightseeing, marvelous destinations, quality spas and more–a truly wonderful and memorable experience is had by all!

With over 100 years of combined experience in designing and operating travel for Americans to destinations around the globe, the professionals of InConTra, Inc., are pleased to present our Santa Goodwill Tours and Customer Designed Tours. Our programs embody our philosophy of providing a meaningful travel experience, in which intercultural exchanges go beyond traditional sightseeing programs. Our founder and President was a pioneer in opening China to tour groups from the United States, and we continue this innovative spirit today.

On our Santa Goodwill Tours, which have been operating for over 20 years, travelers visit orphanages, homes for the aged and other facilities for the needy, bringing joy to the residents and themselves and spreading a unique brand of North American hospitality. Many participants in the Goodwill Tours have become part of our family, traveling with us year after year, and we welcome new members to the Santa family yearly.

InConTra is pleased to provide travel for service-oriented groups like Kiwanis, TeleCom Pioneers, and other companies and organizations. We tailor every element in the itinerary to match your requirements.

We invite you to join us in exploring our world!

More information about the Pioneers Goodwill Tours may be found at this link

Submitted by New Outlook Region Directors – Elaine Housley and Fred Solomon

Crossroads Chapter 135 – Burlie Club Pioneers

HELPING HANDS Medical Equipment Ministry – Peace United Methodist Church
Volunteer Hours & Information
2019 and January 1 – June 30, 2020

• Total families served 3,381
(includes deliveries, pick-ups, and pick up of equipment at the church)
• Coordinator Volunteer Hours: 1960 (averaged 40 hours a week/49 weeks)
• Approximate hours given by other volunteers in HH Ministry: 5,000 – 6,000
(*See info below for “other volunteers”)

Families served before shutdown:
January 333
February 268
March 139 (thru 12th)
Shut-down due to Covid 19 virus – March 12 thru May 31
During closing we continued setting equipment outside for pick-up at the church which was requested by physical therapist, nurses, social workers
and a few folks that call the church and a few of our Peace family
Equipment was put outside the west entry doors with names attached. Paperwork completed for file, but not signed. No personal contact.

During that time 6 hospital beds were picked up at Peace. (our men and those picking up all wearing masks)

Families served during shutdown:
March 50 (March 16-31)
April 49
May 70

Reopened June 1: (2 to 3 truck runs only and only if absolutely couldn’t pick up
or drop off at Peace)

Families served after reopening:
June 249

Total families served January 1 thru June 30, 2020 – 1158
(Approximately 1690 during same time in 2019)

2020 Coordinator Volunteer Hours
January 1 through March 12: (11 weeks-open) 275 hours
March 12 – April 30: (7 weeks) (shut down) 84 hours
May: (shut down) 48 hours
June (partially open) (4 weeks) 100 hours

Total volunteer hours January – June 2020 507 hours

Important Fact! Beginning last fall, we added a volunteer helper each weekday morning to help get equipment marked and out for pick-up, getting small equipment ready for truck runs, spray dropped off equipment and move inside for scrubbing, legs back on cleaned equipment, check equipment for needed repair, etc. (cut coordinator weekday morning hours at the church in half!)

*All Other Helping Hands Ministry Volunteers
(Coordinator hours not included in figures below)

Approximate hours given by other volunteers in the ministry:
• Scrubbers (6 ladies/4 scrub a week) 3 to 3 ½ hours each = 12 to 14 hours weekly
• Call receivers (5 persons each week) 4-5 hours weekly = 20 – 25 hours weekly
• Weekday morning helpers (5 persons each week) 2 – 2 ½ each = 10 – 12 ½ hours weekly
• Repair small equipment. 2-3 hours weekly
• Truck Drivers (2 drivers each day/5 days each week) 5 – 7 hours each = 50-70 hours weekly
• Cleaning beds, mattresses, lifts -& bed repair – 5 1/2-6 1/2 hours weekly
• Office staff – unknown

Average weekly hours by other volunteers:
(at least 5 truck runs a week)
Volunteers weekly hours: 99 ½ to 131

Average annual other volunteer hours (49 weeks): 4875 ½ to 6,419

Reopened partially, June 1 and planning to continue to the end of 2020 or
until vaccine is developed, approved and distributed
• Pick up at church encouraged by all equipment requests
• Drop off at church encouraged by all equipment donations and returns; all sprayed with Selectrocide before taking into building
• Everything outside for pickup – no paperwork (to avoid spreading of virus)
• Hospital beds – encouraged to pick up at Peace
• Call receivers get calls each day
• Scrubbers began Monday cleaning June 1 (wear masks/social distancing – no more than 4 each Monday) (Cleaned June 1 & 2 to catch up then each Monday)
• Truck Runs:
o Pick up equipment including hospital beds that could be left on porch, driveway, in garage, etc.
o Only going inside homes to set up or repair hospital beds when they had no family to assist putting together, or to pick up as needed.
o Drivers wear masks and gloves/people in homes wear mask and observe distance guidelines
o Equipment sprayed with Selectrocide (which kills the virus) when picked up and when dropped off before going inside church buildings
o Half of our drivers are not comfortable going out on runs or into homes, so truck delivery/pickup limited.

Summited by Elaine Housley Director for Linda Hottle

Western Electric History Saved In Historic Library

For three score years and ten—a lifetime!—Western Electric has helped to make possible this miracle of
communications. Since early in 1882 Western Electric has been the element of supply in the Bell System
formula. It is the manufacturer and supplier of the tools of telephone service.

Western Electric has manufactured millions of telephones, millions of miles of wire and cable, tens of
thousands of manual and dial switching units, and the thousand-and-one other kinds of apparatus that go
into the plant of the Bell System. It has purchased from thousands of other manufacturers the great variety
of supplies that are used by the Bell System.

You may access the Historical Library by clicking on this link.

Submitted by Elaine Housley New Outlook Director