Kearney Chapter Serves Humanity, Focuses on Hearing


Each of the homes along this shady stretch of West 29th Street is well maintained, but there’s something about the Dorman home that caught the eye of the Kearney Sertoma Club’s Yard of the Month judges. The judges named Jim and Doris the recipients of the August Court of the Month.

KEARNEY — Kearney’s young lawyer, Nick Ridgeway, says the Sertoma Club is a perfect fit for his busy lifestyle.

The group gives him opportunities for community service and keeps him informed of what’s going on in Kearney without requiring a significant time commitment.

“For a youngster who is relatively new to the community, it provides an ongoing education on Kearney,” said Ridgeway, who grew up in Columbus following his father in Sertoma activities.

The Sertoma logo features on a number of picnic shelters and sports facilities in Kearney Parks through the support of the Kearney Sertoma Club.

Mike Konz

Ridgeway is president of the Kearney Sertoma Club, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

The Kearney Sertoma Club had 36 members when it was formed on February 12, 1962. Today there are 55 club members – all men – who meet weekly at noon on Mondays at Kearney’s Holiday Inn.

The main objective of the club is to combat hearing problems.

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Shelter and Tables

The Sertoma Shelter in Harmon Park provides a shaded spot for picnics and get-togethers. Children’s playgrounds are nearby.

Mike Konz

Kearney Sertoma has been a major sponsor for hearing loops installed at several public venues in Kearney, including the Merryman Performing Arts Center, World Theater and Kearney Public Library. Loops help people who wear hearing aids with T-coils hear music or speech, and people who don’t need hearing aids.

Over the years, Sertoma has sponsored hearing tests and helped purchase hearing aids for those in need. The group also sponsors an endowed scholarship at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for students in audiology and other hearing sciences.

Ridgeway said the Sertomans are proud of their many community contributions, including some of Kearney’s outdoor tennis facilities and shelters in Kearney Parks.

Nick Ridgeway

ridge path

The Sertomans also encourage Kearney residents to take pride in the way their community looks by sponsoring the Sertoma Yard of the Month Award and the club’s annual Service to Mankind Award.

These three words – Service to Mankind – are abbreviated in the three syllables of the club’s name – Ser-to-ma – and they are the guiding principle of the club’s mission, said historian Pete Kotsiopulos.

Over the decades, Kotsiopulos has helped document the contributions of the Kearney Sertomans to a better life in Kearney. Part of the story recorded by Kotsiopulos involves young Sertomans making ski trips in Colorado or loading canoes and hiking the Platte River to picnic spots below Kearney.

Pete Kotsiopulos


According to Kotsiopulos, the Kearney Sertoma Club’s roster of projects and sponsorships reflect members’ appreciation for the outdoors and active lifestyles. These projects include Sertoma Tennis Courts and Soccer Fields; sponsorship of sports clubs for young people; sponsorship of the University of Nebraska in Kearney outdoor recreation facilities; sponsoring picnic shelters in Harmon, West Lincolnway, Dryden and Pioneer parks; and the Balfany Tennis Shelter in Harmon Park.

Over its 60 years, the Sertomans have supported numerous community service efforts. A sample includes BandAid sales for Arc, Halloween Haunted House, Radios for National Tuberculosis Hospital, Father-Son Luncheon, Drug Education Committee, Voluntary Fire Department of Kearney, Ted Baldwin Park, All-Star 8-a-side Football Game, Science Fair, Sertoma Circus, Children’s Museum, Press-On Youth Ministries, Girls’ Fastpitch Softball, Legion Baseball, Hero Flight, Central Nebraska Veterans’ Memorial, North Pole Express and Goodfellows drive.

Sertoma also recognizes the contributions of outstanding community leaders and volunteers with the annual Service to Mankind Awards. The program began in 1965 and brought to light the selfless work of dozens of people.

Over the past 10 years, the Sertomans have presented their Service to Mankind Award to Ward Schrack, Tom Tye II, Ian Nicolson Audubon Center, Bill Ballou, Chuck Prochaska, Dr Earl Rademacher, Wayne McKinney, Paul Younes, Dick Cochran and Stan Clouse .

The Sertomans’ main annual fundraiser is a Las Vegas-style bachelor party in November.

Sertomans rotate members through leadership roles. They rise through the ranks to eventually become president. After the final year as an officer, the Past President presides over the stag fundraiser.

Ridgeway said Sertoma members are proud of their community and their contributions to a better Kearney. “There’s a general urge, all the guys want to see everyone succeed.”

He said it’s a good feeling to be among others who want to make a difference.

“I know 50 other really solid guys in the community,” he said.


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