The Big Give to Valley County -Generosity: A North Loup Valley Tradition

The Big Give to Valley County will be the first-ever 24 hour giving day that encourages people from across the country to support organizations in Valley County who strive to make our community a great place to live, work, play and give!  The Big Give will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 21st and end at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 22nd, 2013.

The Big Give event was organized in March to honor and celebrate the establishment of Valley County in March of 1873.  Our rich tradition of supporting each other and the greater good of Valley County began with the pioneers that settled in the region.  In the narrative below Gary Wells describes philanthropic efforts that started our tradition of giving time, talent and treasure for the betterment of our area.

The people of the North Loup Valley have always been known for their generosity and willingness to lend a hand in time of need.  This virtue may well be a result of the history of their ancestors, during the early days of the newly arrived pioneers.

The spring of 1874 was very mild and summer brought ample rains to help bring up a good looking crop of corn and small grains.  It had only been four years since the first settlers began arriving and building shelters for families and livestock had been the focus when the farmers were not busy with their crops.  Now with the promise of a bountiful harvest, building grain storage was on their minds.  That is until that fateful day in mid July when the western sky grew dark like an approaching summer storm.  When the darkness arrived, it was no storm at all, but thousands of grasshoppers riding in on the winds and devouring everything in sight.  One settler wrote that the little devils ate the crops down to the stub, as well as the family garden, and the grass for the livestock.  Even the leather harness had to be buried to avoid being eaten.  These hardy pioneers now looked to be beaten with no grain to sell, no garden for food, and no feed for livestock.  

Major Jim Brisbin, who had been camped with the 2nd Cavalry along the North Loup River in 1874 and General Edward Otho Cresap Ord, namesake of the town of Ord, organized the State Relief & Aid Society raising money and food to help the suffering pioneers 

EOC Ord Deposit Receipt

survive the winter.  Money poured in from many nearby states from those willing to help.  A large part of the money came from Chicago who had been the recipient of the same type of generosity two years earlier after the Chicago Fire that devastated their city.  They were “Paying It Forward”.      
Help also came from Captain Samuel Munson, commander of Fort Harsuff, as it was being built.  No able bodied man looking for work was turned away and laborers from as far as St. Paul came to earn enough money to provide for their families and livestock through the winter. 

Without the help of others, many of the early pioneer families would have suffered greatly through the winter of 1874-1875 or have been forced to move back East.   Helping others is just as important today as many people struggle in their daily lives.  Continue the tradition, reach out and lend a hand!

The purpose of the Big Give to Valley County is to raise awareness of the current philanthropic needs and opportunities in our countywide community, build the capacity of our local nonprofit organizations and inspire donors to support the causes that are closest to their hearts. Every dollar counts and together the people who care about Valley County can make a positive impact on youth, education, healthcare, culture, and community development in our area!

Two of the worthy non-profit, charitable organizations participating in the event include the Heartland Youth Ranch and the Valley County Health System Foundation.

The Heartland Youth Ranch helps children and youth in the community find encouragement, healing and hope through working with horses and other activities. In 2012, we had 142 scheduled riding sessions, serving families from four counties, three states, and one foreign country.  Our riding sessions begin in early April and run through November, with additional activities taking place during the winter months.  Our current fundraising efforts are going towards the construction of a riding arena.  This large arena will allow us more space for riding and a place to hold other activities that are planned for the 2013 season.

The Valley County Health System Foundation’s number one priority is enhancing and sustaining high-quality healthcare in Central Nebraska. Recently, with the help of our donors, we have been able to meet the needs of several healthcare departments including surgery, physical therapy, nursing home, lab, emergency room, pharmacy and our home health/hospice departments.    There truly is nothing better than lending a hand to your friends, family & community members by something as simple as a gift to support the continued quality healthcare services at VCHS and Valley View Living Center.

Get involved in the Big Give to Valley County! To learn more about the Big Give and for a complete list of the twenty-eight non-profit participating organizations visit and or call the Valley County Philanthropic Partners at 308-728-7875.

Big Give Logo 2013

2 Responses to “The Big Give to Valley County -Generosity: A North Loup Valley Tradition”

  1. Yvonne Bodyfield Says:

    Wondering if the Valley county Hospice is one of the charities. If not can you donate to your choice?

  2. Caleb Pollard Says:

    Hello Yvonne! You are welcome to donate to the cause of your choice, and I believe all VCHS donations are being directed to the VCHS Foundation.

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