The History Nebraska Board of Trustees is proud to announce Donna Trompke as the recipients of the 2023 Heritage Hero Award for her work with the Sherman County Historical Society.
History Nebraska recognizes deserving individuals and organizations throughout the State of Nebraska for preserving and sharing the history of their region. Former President of the Board of Trustees, Lance Bristol, presented Donna with a Heritage Hero Award pin and certificate on Sunday, January 8, 2023, at the Historical Society’s Holiday Potluck.
When one thinks of the Sherman County Historical Society, a silhouette of Donna Trompke immediately appears in your mind. Donna is the momentum that keeps our organization running and motivated. Without her, we would simply not be.
As our president, she organizes meetings, events, and knows the rules and regulations for a non-profit. With a background of teaching and having run a bookkeeping business, it seems to come natural to her to keep the Historical Society organization running like a well-oiled machine.
Donna works alongside members to clean, decorate, organize, or whatever needs to be done. She is always available for tours when someone calls and works tirelessly at the Research Center to help visitors find information and details about their ancestors and any aspect of their past. If publications are ordered, she mails them out. In turn, she makes sure there are an ample number of publications on hand.
Donna has had a plethora of ideas in promoting the Historical Society. One of her recent ideas was to have a “featured family” each tour season. Donna headed the committee to select a family that was instrumental in settling Sherman County. Once a family was selected, a display about them was designed in our main building on the museum campus. Other articles the family had donated were marked appropriately in the other buildings. The featured family was announced in our quarterly newsletter and in Donna’s weekly article “Another View” in the Sherman County Times (local paper). The featured family event was a hit and will be continued for future tour seasons.
In planning new displays for the museum, enough cannot be said about how Donna’s ideas have helped keep the exhibits fresh and alive. She attends meetings and seminars to discover how others are handling their artifacts and keeping precious relics of the past safe from the sun and air. Donna has added mannequins to the museum and procured special boxes and paper to store newspapers and other valuable print material.
When it comes to the Veteran’s exhibits, which are close to Donna’s heart, she takes special care to make sure they are displayed with dignity. As a busy member, volunteer, and officer of Post 48 Women’s Auxiliary, she understands the sacrifices the men and women of the military have made for all of us.
Donna has been our grant writer to secure local and state grants. The Historical Society is an all-volunteer organization. While we do receive some county funding, it is not enough for the upkeep of the grounds and buildings and to pay all our expenses. Was it not for Donna, who tirelessly scouts for those extra dollars to fund projects, we would not be able to continue our efforts to provide Sherman County with the wonderful facility we have. Donna also attends county commissioners’ meetings to keep them aware of our activities.
Donna has children and grandchildren that see her deep devotion to the Historical Society. Two of her grandchildren, Wyatt and MacKenzie, are often with her at work sessions and meetings. They work alongside us and are often “mini-tour guides”. Visitors enjoy their enthusiasm as do the members. It is wonderful to see the passion she has instilled in them at this young age. This is a perfect example of how it “takes a village.”
Donna's tireless efforts to make the Sherman County Historical Society the great organization that it is today are what make her a Heritage Hero. She is quick to give others credit for their efforts, but it now time to bestow the credit due her. Thanks to you, we are who we are.