While the award is an honor, helping a good cause is the real prize for Dave and Laurie Pankonin.
The couple received the Reflection Award during the Midlands Community Foundation’s annual Reflection Ball on Saturday.
More than 400 guests attended the gala at the Embassy Suites in La Vista. The award is for those who have contributed to communities in Sarpy and Cass counties.
Proceeds from the event benefited Ted E. Bear Hollow, a nonprofit organization that helps grieving children after suffering a loss. More than $115,000 was raised for the organization that night.
The Pankonins, residents of Louisville, have been married since 1975. Two of their businesses, Pankonin’s Inc. and Home State Bank, have serviced both counties for a combined 226 years after five generations.
“It was an honor for my wife and myself, but we felt good that we had a successful event for Ted E. Bear Hollow,” Dave Pankonin said.
Lori Pankonin currently chairs the Staff Parish Relations Committee, and she is the chair of the First United Methodist Church of Louisville food stand at the Cass County Fair She also serves on the preschool board.
Dave Pankonin, who has been bank director since 1977 until he became bank president in 2010, was a Nebraska state senator from 2006 to 2011. He also serves as a member of the Louisville Care Center Advisory Board, the Cass County Historical Society Board and the Cass County Nebraska Economic Development Council.
He said a sense of community is what motivates he and his wife to serve others. He has been before the public on the election ballot nine times.
“I think it’s that Midwestern ethic of trying to make a better society for all of us,” Dave Pankonin said. “The more people that work towards that, the better it will be.”