Husker Hero Helps Launch 2014 Nominations

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Humble Husker Hero Wants to Inspire Others

By Randy York

He’s a year older, a year wiser, and a professional in his chosen field.  In mid-July, he finally met the man whose life he saved, and even though this 19-year-old is as humble as ever, Caleb Amundson is more than willing to smile and wave to 90,000-plus fans Saturday when he’s introduced prior to the second half of Nebraska’s non-conference football game against McNeese State.  Caleb, you might remember, was Nebraska’s 2013 honoree for the annual Nebraska-Iowa Hy-Vee Heroes Game inside Memorial Stadium. 

A May graduate of North Central Kansas Technical College in Beloit, Kan., Amundson will be recognized Saturday as the Red Cross helps launch the annual call for 2014 nominations that will be posted Saturday on Hy-Vee.com.  “It’s pretty cool.  I’m glad they called me to come back,” Caleb said by phone Wednesday after completing another day as a heavy equipment operator in Endicott, Neb., located six miles from Fairbury, his hometown.  “If I can inspire people to nominate their own hero, I’m happy because I’m as excited as everyone else to find out who that’s going to be.”

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Reluctant Hero Encourages Nominations for 2014

Nancy and Chris Amundson, Caleb’s parents, and his 12-year-old brother, Chance, will join him in the northwest corner of Memorial Stadium Saturday to heighten awareness of the formal nomination process that begins Saturday.  The 2014 Heroes Game will be played on Friday, November 28, in Iowa City.  Even though Caleb was a reluctant hero, the Kansas Red Cross recognized Caleb as one of 10 Good Samaritan Hero Award winners last December in Salina, Kan.  Seven months later, Caleb finally met the paralyzed boater whose safety belt he unbuckled and pulled to safety after diving into the water at Harlan County Lake near Republican City, Neb.

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Works for the Company that Supplied Lettermen’s Wall

“There are a lot of heroes out there, doing things just like what I did,” Caleb told me after another satisfying day operating a bulldozer.  “I’m working full time for the Endicott Clay Products Company, and there’s nothing better.”  When I tell Caleb the company for which he now works supplied the bricks for Nebraska’s all-time football lettermen’s wall that’s an integral part of the Huskers’ famed Tunnel Walk, he is not surprised.  “It’s a great company, and I’m glad to be a part of it,” he said.  Caleb is equally excited to return home and be part of two more familiar commitments – 1) he remains a volunteer for the Fairbury Rural Fire Department; and 2) as a former starter on the Fairbury High School football team, he has accepted the opportunity to be a volunteer coach.  “Caleb loves being back home,” his mom said, “and everyone who knows him also knows that he would have been just fine if he and the man he saved would have been the only ones who knew about his heroic act.”   

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