The Midlands Community Foundation will be honoring Bob Olson with the Reflection Award at its 2020 Reflection Ball on Jan. 18 at the Embassy Suites in La Vista.
The Reflection Award is presented each year to honor those who have contributed to Sarpy and Cass counties and the mission of the Foundation.
“We are pleased to present Bob Olson with our 2020 Reflection Award for his more than 55 years of volunteer service to Sarpy County and the Papillion community, particularly in the area of emergency medical services. He has done so much to ensure the safety of the residents of our community,” said Tonee Gay, MCF Executive Director.
A lifelong Papillion resident, Olson graduated from Papillion High School and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Olson owned a State Farm Insurance agency for 35 years.
Olson has served the community in numerous ways over the years. He has been a member of the Papillion Volunteer Fire Department for 34 years, serving as chief, assistant chief, rescue captain, paramedic supervisor, treasurer and president during that time. He started the Paramedic Service Program in 1981, making Papillion the first volunteer department to provide advanced life support services in Nebraska. He was also founding member of the Nebraska Paramedic Association. Bob was appointed by the governor to work with state senators to merge the State Board of Ambulance Advisors and the Board of Advanced Emergency Care. He was later appointed to the State Board of Emergency Medical Services, serving as chairperson for 10 years.
Olson has served as president of the Tri Mutual Aid Firefighters, and as a member of the Nebraska Stroke Foundation, the State Critical Incident Stress Management Debriefing Team and Foundation Board, the Papillion Civil Service Commission, the Papillion-La Vista Schools Foundation Board and Recreation Board. He is a member of the Nebraska State Volunteer Firefighters Association and Treasurer of the Papillion Area Historical Society. He is active in Papillion’s 150th birthday celebration in 2020 as chairman of the Historical Committee as well as serving on the steering and scheduling Committees.
A 56-year member of the Papillion Gun Club, Olson helped establish the program to train and sponsor youth target shooters. He also has hosted many hunter education classes at the Club.
He and his wife Karen have served as grand marshals of the Papillion Days parade. They also have been recognized as the Papillion-La Vista Schools Foundation Outstanding Alumni and received the Midlands Hospital Evening with Friends Outstanding Community Volunteers Award.
“I know a lot of the people who have been honored before and it’s nice to be a member of an elite group,” Olson said.
Olson said that contributing to the community is something he’s always aimed to do.
“I was born and raised here and the community has been good to me,” Olson said. “The way you pay them back is by helping out. The more people that are willing to help, the easier it is to get the job done.”
Olson has been married to Karen for 57 years and the couple has three children and eight grandchildren.