Mark your calendars for these dates!
Next Event: Saturday, October 28, 2023 at CHI Health Center
Aksarben Announces the 2023 Court of Honor Inductees
Court of Honor to be Celebrated at the 128th Aksarben Ball on October 28, 2023
The Aksarben Foundation™ is proud to announce the 2023 Aksarben Court of Honor to celebrate individuals who have excelled in one of 10 categories in the state of Nebraska that include: agriculture, arts, business and industry, community service, education, philanthropy, professions, public service, sports or service to youth. The Court of Honor award, established in 1988, is one of oldest and most prestigious awards awarded by The Aksarben Foundation.
“For 128 years, Aksarben has been honoring incredible individuals who have directly impacted the state of Nebraska through volunteerism, philanthropy and community service, ” said Kathryn Anderson, 2023 Women’s Ball Committee Chairman. “We are thrilled to announce the 2023 Court of Honor this year as their impact reaches far and wide across the state and country.”
The Aksarben Ball Committee 2023 Aksarben Court of Honor inductees includes:
Robert “Bob” Hoogeveen: Bob Hoogeveen has made his mark on generations of students as a teacher, coach and school administrator in Sheldon, Iowa. In 1974, Bob founded Village Northwest Unlimited when he saw the need for programs and living options for those with intellectual disabilities in the Sheldon community. He would also eventually lend his expertise to the founding of QLI in Omaha, which is now the largest, most specialized center for providing care and rehabilitation for individuals with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Bob also helped found Opportunities Unlimited, a residential treatment center for individuals with disabilities in Sioux City. Bob is being honored for his contributions to professions.
Henry “Hod” Kosman: Hod Kosman is a third-generation banker from Scottsbluff and is the Chairman, President and CEO of Platte Valley Companies. Hod has made many contributions to the banking industry, including service with the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City for six years. He’s led the Platte River Basin Environments, Inc. for more than three decades and the organization’s work overseeing and protecting 30,000 acres of public access lands in western Nebraska, ensuring the preservation of Nebraska’s wild landscapes. Hod is being honored for his contributions to business and industry.
Marc LeBaron: Marc LeBaron is the Chairman and CEO of Lincoln Industries, a company that has grown to be the largest and most diverse privately held metal finishing company in North America. In nurturing the company’s workforce, Marc is also invested in wellness and employee fitness programs, winning national recognition. He is also passionate about the arts and has made art available to the public through a private art exhibition space. Marc is being honored for his work in business and industry.
Ruth Meints: Ruth Meints’ love of music and violin led her to a career in music education. You can hear the fruits of her labor every year as 1,000 kids ages 3-6 take up violins, violas, cellos, and basses in classes provided by the Omaha Conservatory’s String Sprouts Program. The success of this curriculum, created in 2013, has made her an author and national speaker on music education, equitable access to the arts, and motivation. Since 2005, Ruth has served as the Executive Director of the Omaha Conservatory of Music. Ruth is being honored for her achievements in the arts.
24th and Glory: 24th and Glory describes the greatest generation of athletes that came out of N Omaha during the civil rights era. These seven men grew up together and made their mark in the history books.
Ron Boone played for the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association, holding the record for the most consecutive games played in professional basketball at 1,041. He’s currently a commentator for the Utah Jazz.
Bob Boozer’s NBA career culminated in an Olympic gold medal and an NBA championship. After his basketball career, he returned to Omaha and served the community. He was appointed to the Nebraska Parole Board and volunteered at Boys Town. He passed away in 2012.
Marlin Briscoe was a quarterback and wide receiver in the American Football League and National Football League. He was the first black quarterback to start a professional football game and played for nine years, winning two Super Bowls. He passed away in 2022.
Bob Gibson won the biggest awards in baseball during his 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, including two Cy Young awards, two times named the World Series MVP, nine Gold Glove awards, named a National League MVP, and two world Series championships. He passed away in 2020.
Johnny Rodgers won the Heisman Trophy as a Husker 50 years ago and went on to a professional football career in Canada and the U.S. He was named Rookie of the Year for the Canadian Football League and was a three-time all-star player for the CFL. He is currently a local businessman in Omaha.
Gale Sayers was a football player who played with the Chicago Bears, becoming the youngest person to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his career achievements. He passed away in 2020.
Roger Sayers was a member of the U.S. Track Team and a noted college football player. Roger then went on to serve the community on numerous boards in Omaha and had a nearly three-decade career with Union Pacific. Following, he served as the City of Omaha’s Director of Human Relations.
2023 Aksarben Ball Leadership Announced
New leadership for the 2023 Aksarben Ball will be helmed by two people with longtime Aksarben ties.
Kathryn Anderson has been named Chair of the Women’s Ball Committee. She is a former Queen of Aksarben and wants to focus on recognizing families across the state for their contributions and continuing to find opportunities for our young talent to stay in Nebraska. She will be joined in the work by Aksarben Ball Committee Chair, Nate Dodge. Dodge has been actively involved in the Aksarben Foundation since 1999 and is looking forward to raising awareness and strengthening ties with families across the heartland.
They will be joined by Jamie Walker, who will serve as Vice Chair of the Aksarben Ball Committee and Sharlon Rodgers who becomes Advisor to the WBC.
Next year’s ball will be held on October 28, 2023 at the CHI Health Center. The Aksarben Ball raises dollars to fund scholarships for students who are attending post-secondary school in Nebraska, as well as supports workforce development and community grants.
Congratulations to Dawn and Sid Dinsdale, Aksarben’s Most Honored Citizens!
Nearly 1,750 people of all ages gathered together at the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha Saturday night for the annual Aksarben Ball celebration. This year, Aksarben cast it’s Spotlight on the Heartland honoring Nebraska families and individuals for their volunteerism, community service, and philanthropy; a tradition 127-years strong.
The spotlight also shone brightly on the importance of education and training the next generation of Nebraska talent for jobs of the future. A staple initiative of the Foundation, Aksarben has proudly awarded scholarships to Nebraska and western Iowa students for over seventy years.
Each of the 200 scholarships Aksarben awards annually helps a determined student attend the Nebraska college or university of his or her choice; a strategy tailored to help retain these students’ post-graduation and expand the state’s workforce.
The Aksarben Ball is the headlining event of the Aksarben Foundation and raises funds necessary for the Aksarben Scholarship Program. It is also a night to celebrate all that Aksarben does around the state.
“Aksarben is all of us,” said Aksarben President, Sandra Reding, at Saturday’s event. “This celebration – the Princesses, Escorts, Standard Bearers, and Pages – each person to cross the stage tonight represents an individual or family who frequently works to better the communities, the businesses, and the Heartland. It is because of your vision and action that living in Nebraska truly is ‘The Good Life’.
The night concluded with the reveal of the night’s highest honor, Aksarben’s Most Honored Citizens for 2022, Dawn and Sid Dinsdale.
Born in South Dakota, Dawn’s family relocated to Ralston, Nebraska when she was very young and that is where she spent her formative years before heading off to the University of Nebraska.
Sid was born in Grand Island and raised in Palmer, Nebraska where he worked in the family feedlots, hay and corn fields. After attending Hastings College for two years, he too made his way to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
The couple met on a blind date while at the University, but neither was the other’s date. They were seated next to each other and have been together since.
Dawn graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology, and immediately earned a Master’s in Audiology from UNL. Sid graduated from the University with a Bachelor’s in Finance. They married in 1976.
Dawn is known as a Champion of Giving, an inveterate volunteer. She was named Woman of the Year by the Arthritis Foundation in 2015 and has served in various ways for Assure Women, Completely Kids, Children’s Respite Care Center, Habitat for Humanity, Lauritzen Gardens, Quality Living, Grace University, Special Olympics, Youth for Christ, and Nebraska Children’s Home.
Sid is a member of the Omaha Business Hall of Fame. He has served on the boards of the University of Nebraska Foundation, Bellevue University, Methodist Health System, Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation, Omaha Children’s Hospital, the Platte Institute, and Midland’s Community Hospital.
The couple are good will ambassadors for the Midwest. They are justly proud of their ancestral heritage as well as the steady progress and development the region has enjoyed. As an employer, he honors a community banking model with locations in eight states. In Nebraska, Pinnacle Bank is in 34 communities and has 79 locations. Pinnacle Bank associates proudly do what is best for their customers and communities, supporting local efforts in education, charities, hospitals, sporting arenas, Universities, Colleges, and the Military.
Both Dawn and Sid have a distinguished history with Aksarben. Sid became an Aksarben Councillor in 2005, and a Governor of the Board in 2014. Dawn served on the Women’s Ball Committee as Chair in 2006 and Advisor in 2007 and was a proud member of Aksarben Friends.
Their daughter Alison was a Countess in 2002, daughter Paige was a Countess in 2004 and crowned Queen that same year, son Matt was an Escort in 2007. Most recently, the spotlight has shone on several of their grandchildren as Aksarben Pages.
Their family includes sons-in-law, J. R. Johnson and Brian Ritter, daughter-in-law, Sheena, and nine grandchildren—Georgie, Charlotte, Eva, Violet, Lydia, Will, Graham, Roy and Vivienne.
The Aksarben Ball is a night of celebration to honor citizens of Nebraska and western Iowa for going above and beyond to embody the Spirit of Aksarben in all they do.