PILGER, NE — It’s been a long three years of rebuilding for a village torn in two.
On Friday afternoon, Pilger residents gathered to celebrate the grand opening of the Cooper Family Community Center. Retired President of Midwest Bank Gene Willers says after the tornados, residents met at town hall meetings to decide top priorities, and everyone agreed building a community center was at the top of the list.
“It provides us just a meeting place, it houses the senior center of the community, provides an education room for use by different businesses and organizations. Also, we have a wellness center here, which we thought was high priority to get people to move here. And, also, a place for weddings, funerals, you name it.”
After the storm, Willers says the seniors met in the basement of St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, the only public building left standing. The new community center allows them to be located where other community events are happening.
“It was just a blessing for them to be able to get back into their own facilities, and it’s just really given them a boost”
Three years later, the Cooper Family Community Center is much more than just a building.
“It just shows that we’re continuing to come back, and we’re continuing to grow. And it’s also something that people can look at when they’re looking for a home. You know, this town has a great park system, a good school system, community center, and it’s apparent like this community cares.”
The Community Center is named after the Cooper Family of Midwest Banks because of their generous donations and unending help. The Cooper Family, Nucor, and countless other donors and volunteers have helped Pilger remain the town too tough to die.