​Departing NRD Board Members to Be Celebrated for Long Service

​Departing NRD Board Members to Be Celebrated for Long Service

Friday, November 20, 2020

Three longtime members of the Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District will be celebrated next month for their collective 83 years of service to the people of the district. Douglas Bruns, Gary Eberle, and Merlin Volkmer will each conclude their service in December after decades of board membership.

“We appreciate the leadership these men have provided through their involvement in the board all these years,” said David Eigenberg, general manager of the Upper Big Blue NRD. “We want to thank them publicly for their dedication to our mission to protect lives, protect property, and protect the future of our district. The level of institutional knowledge and experience they possess will not be easy to replace on our board.”

In January Rodney Grotz (York), Richard Bohaty (Seward), and Kendall Siebert (Henderson) will all begin their first term as NRD board members, filling the vacancies left by Bruns, Eberle, and Volkmer.

Under ordinary circumstances, the board members who are stepping down would be honored with an open house event so that the people of the district could offer their thanks in person; however, with directed health measures preventing large indoor gatherings, such an event is not possible this year. Instead, they will be recognized by the board and staff on December 17 during the monthly board meeting, which begins at 1:30 p.m. All are invited to send a note of well wishes and thanks to the departing board members at the NRD (either mailed to the office at 319 E 25th St, York, 68467 or submitted via webform). These messages will be delivered at the board meeting on the 17th. 

Douglas Bruns of Waco is a lifelong Nebraskan. He is retired after a career in farming and working for Pioneer, and now has an interest in raising cattle. He has served on the board of directors of the NRD since 1999 as a way of giving back to the community. “I felt keeping our water quality high is important,” he said. Bruns wishes that more people understood that the NRD is “working for the people to keep quality and quantity of water for future generations.”


Gary Eberle of Bradshaw has lived in Nebraska for 70 years. Now retired, his career years were spent raising corn, soybeans, milo, and seed wheat. He also raised swine seedstock with a veterinarian monitored herd for 30 years. His interests include wood working, toy restoration, and travel. He has served on the board of the NRD since 1997. He says he believes in the work of the NRD board because it offers local control of natural resources.


Merlin Volkmer of Shickley has lived in Nebraska for more than 80 years. He is now retired, but he farmed for more than 40 years. He also worked in well drilling, irrigation, and manufacturing. His interests include ice fishing, collecting toy tractors, and travel. He has served on the board of the Upper Big Blue NRD since 1981. His initial interest in serving on the board of the NRD was due to a lack of representation for his area and his desire to make sure that the natural resource needs experienced in his sub-district were addressed.