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Lincoln, NE 68509-4942


2024 Helping Hand Award

The Nebraska FFA Foundation has awarded Mr. Kurt Heideman, Bishop Neumann FFA advisor, with the 2024 Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award.
Heideman, FFA advisor for the Bishop Neumann FFA chapter, was nominated for the award with support from his students, Bishop Neumann administration, and other community members. Mr. Heideman has been the agriculture educator at Bishop Neumann since 2020.

In his nomination, principal at Bishop Neumann High School, John Kreikemeier wrote, “Mr. Heideman exemplifies the quality of kindness, and his disposition is to always do good. He shows this quality with his FFA chapter officers, community, and school.” Kreikemeier continues, “Mr. Heideman has been instrumental in working with community benefactors in order to provide more opportunities for students to learn and grow.”

Another nominator wrote, “Kurt works hard to foster relationships between the public school, Wahoo High, and the private school where he teaches. The public-school students are part of his program, and he has welcomed and integrated the two groups beautifully.”

“Many of us whom he taught when we were younger have now since become officers and have grown a lot in our FFA journey. We could not have done a lot of it without him in the beginning!” Wrote the Bishop Neumann FFA officer team in a letter of support for Heideman.

Heideman’s service goes above and beyond the school and community. He is a sergeant in the Nebraska Army National Guard. He spent the last eleven months serving his country when he was deployed with the A, 2-134th Infantry Battalion to Africa from April 2023 to February 2024.

The Gary Scharf Helping Hand Award recognizes a Nebraska agriculture teacher or FFA advisor for what he or she has done in helping others, specifically in the school and community outside of agriculture education and FFA. As a recipient of the award, Heideman receives a plaque and a $500 cash award from the Nebraska FFA Foundation.
“The Foundation Board is honored to present this award to Mr. Heideman. He exemplifies many qualities that defined Gary Scharf’s life – commitment, self-sacrifice, and genuine kindness,” says Stacey Agnew, Executive Director, Nebraska FFA Foundation.

The annual award is named for Gary Scharf, who was a victim of an Omaha mall shooting in December 2007. Scharf grew up on a family farm outside of Curtis, Nebraska, and worked in the agricultural chemical industry. He made a significant contribution to Nebraska’s agricultural and FFA community through his years of service on the Nebraska FFA Foundation Board, including a year as Board President in 2002-2003.