Quick Links

Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Main Navigation


Front Page > breadcrumbs: Jr-Sr High > breadcrumbs: Journalism >


Ajax Loading Image


Unspoken Heroes

We all know what a hero is: someone admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities. What about heroes that go unnoticed? The people who do incredible things behind the scenes? The unspoken heroes?

Pierce High Journalism is doing a series on unspoken heroes within the Pierce community. These are their stories.

Unspoken Hero: Anne Muhs
By Chloe Bernhardt

Throughout the years, Pierce has had many memorable teachers and Anne Muhs, who taught high school English and journalism for 43 years, was one of them. She taught 31 of those years at Pierce High School. Muhs retired in 2012 and since then she has been a substitute teacher at Pierce High School. 

Muhs is heavily involved in the Pierce community. She contributes to several organizations like the public library, senior center, and fire department. She volunteers at her church and at the Pierce County Fair.

Muhs comments, “I keep my word, whether it's at work or helping out a friend, so I hope I’m a role model of responsibility and caring.”

The reason Muhs became a teacher was because of her teachers being her role models when she was in school. Right now a person she admires and considers a role model is Mr. Brahmer. She says, “He leads the culture here, and it’s a great school, due in a large part to his leadership.”

When Muhs was asked why Pierce is a good place to be, she said the people of Pierce step up to help one another. 

Muhs is just one of many who are unspoken heroes in Pierce.

Unspoken Hero: Dawnn Tucker
By Elizabeth Furstenau

Dawnn Tucker has not lived in Pierce her whole life, yet she has become an unspoken hero in the community of Pierce. 

She attended and graduated from Stromsburg High School in 1983. Tucker was involved in typical activities volleyball, basketball, track, and FHA (now FCCLA) while in high school. Out of college, Tucker taught business and physical education classes at Battle Creek High School. After several years in Battle Creek, the assistant position at Pierce Lied Library fell into her lap in 1997. Her daughter Rachelle was only 10 months old at the time, and she wanted to go back to work, but not full time. Because of this, she was the assistant until 2001 when she became the director. 

For years, Tucker has fostered the love in reading in not only little kids, but also grown ups. She has helped them find genres that they like and enjoy to read and lead them down a path away from only best sellers. 

Tucker says, “I love helping. I grew up and our library never helped me, and I was not going to be that type of librarian. You know, it’s not your typical ‘shh, be quiet’ type of library. I want people to come in and enjoy themselves.”

Giving back to the community makes her, and others, feel good about themselves. Tucker thinks that as a community, we have to give back because “if we don’t give back, how is the community going to grow and continue to thrive.” 

Tucker hopes she is someone children look up to and aspire to be genuine like her and caring and compassionate. Little does she know, she is one of the best role models in the Pierce community. Tucker’s role model is her mother in law, Dora (90). To Tucker, Dora is a go-getter and independent. She may be feeling miserable, but she’s not going to let that stop her. Tucker claims, “That’s who I want to be like.”

Tucker says, “The community is so caring and giving. We all know everybody, and everybody is there to help. I just enjoy watching the kids grow up because you know a lot of the kids have started in infancy, and they’ve either graduated already or they’re approaching graduation. It’s crazy how fast time goes.”

If you are interested in meeting one of the best unspoken heroes in our community, take a trip to the library, Tucker would be more than happy to reach out to more members of the community. 

Unspoken Hero - Karen Koehn
By Addisyn Ludden 

Karen Koehn attended Pierce High School and graduated from Pierce in 1978 and is another unspoken hero in the Pierce community. 

During high school she participated in track and field and girls letter club for one year. Koehn has been a member of the Pierce community her whole life. 

Koehn is self-employed and has an in-home daycare. She says, “I provide reliable childcare so both parents can have jobs.”

When asked why Pierce is a good place to be, Koehn says, “Pierce is a good place to be because it's a small, quiet town. Over and over when hard times hit a family, the town steps up to help. We look out for each other.”

Koehn feels giving back to the Pierce community is important. 

She says, “It takes everyone to do what they can to make our community the best it can be.”

Koehn continues, “As far as being a volunteer at our city park/arboretum Gary Zimmer was definitely both my role model and influencer. And as a daycare provider, I don't really have a role model except for wanting the kids to feel like they’re at grandma’s house.”

Koehn is just another unspoken hero in the Pierce community. 

Lisa Ludden Hero 
By Addisyn Ludden

Lisa Ludden graduated from Norfolk Public high school in 1997. While there she participated in basketball, volleyball, and volunteered in the life skills room helping students with special needs. Since graduation, Ludden has been a member of the Pierce community for 17 years.

She works for the State of Nebraska as an Associate Public Guardian. Her job involves making decisions for those she serves, advocating for needed services, applying for benefits, serving as a payee and developing monthly budgets, attending hearings, and assisting with placement options for living.

When asked why Pierce is a great place to be, Ludden says, “I feel that Pierce is a small community that is supportive of others when in need. There is community involvement in all of the youth activities and community events that continue to show support.” 

Ludden feels giving back to the Pierce community is important. She says, “I feel that it is important to give back to the community to show support and compassion for others.”

Ludden also says, “My role model was my mother. She always worked hard while providing for us. She had a very prominent role at the social security administration office and was very interested in doing the best. She was on board and trained others to become leaders.”

Ludden is just another unspoken hero in the Pierce community. 

Unspoken Heroes: Vickie DeJong
By Brianna Rundell

Vickie DeJong grew up in the one and only Pierce, Nebraska, raising her children here.

She believes that a small community like Pierce needs to continue to grow. “We all need to be involved in some aspect of its growth, whether it’s businesses, churches, or organizations,” states DeJong.

DeJong worked for the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District in Norfolk for over 42 years. While at the Lower Elkhorn NRD she was an administrative assistant and then retired in 2021.

She is very involved in the Pierce Historical Society. DeJong mentions, “History is such a neat thing, history repeats itself, I think everything is linked to the past; you cannot forget history.”

Volunteering is also a big thing for her as well, and she encourages everyone to do it, or just visit the museum.

Dejong hopes she is a role model for others to do for their community, and she refers to herself as a resource for local history.

Just because someone is a role model does not mean they do not look up to someone too. Her role model is Bill Chilvers; she claims he was a very kind man and knew all of Pierce’s history.

Thank you to Vickie DeJong for being an unspoken hero of the Pierce community. 

Unspoken Hero: Gaye Delka
By Elizabeth Furstenau

Gaye Delka is not a Pierce born community member, but that does not stop her from helping out and bringing joy to the community. She has lived here for 22 years. Delka went and graduated from Guide Rock Public Schools in Guide Rock, Nebraska, in 1992.

Delka is currently a dental hygienist at Family Practice Dental Office in Norfolk. Delka is involved with her church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. 

Delka says, “I try to volunteer and help out with the youth program whenever I can and help with the meals. I did help teach religious ed for a couple of years.” 

Many people know that Delka also helps out with the Pierce High band program as well. Delka volunteers to be a chaperone anytime she can to help out the program. If anyone goes to any home football game, they can find the friendly face of Delka in the concession stand. In addition, whenever she is called upon, Delka takes part in activities at the local library. 

There are many reasons as to why people should give back. In Delka’s opinion, “I think it is important to give back because you never know when the time is going to come when you are going to be in need and you’re going to need to be given back to.”

Many people look up to Delka, her daughter, Lauren, being one of them. L. Delka claims, “I look up to my mom because she listens to me and truly understands. She not only makes me feel heard, but she makes other people around us feel heard.” Delka’s goal is to just set a good example and be a positive influence to the community. 

“Anyone who goes above and beyond, especially people who give when they may not necessarily have a lot to give,” says Delka after being asked about her role model. There is no specific individual Delka looks up to. To put it simply, she just looks for those who have a good heart and mindset.

Delka likes Pierce because it is a small community where “you know a lot of people” and it is a safe place to be “in a world that is changing so rapidly.” 

For only being here for part of her life, Delka has created such a positive impact on the community. She helps out whenever she can and puts her all into everything she does, and that is what a true unspoken hero does.

Unspoken Hero-Sue Bachman
By Addisyn Ludden

Another unspoken hero in the Pierce community is Sue Bachman who attended and graduated from Pierce High School in 1976. She was a part of different clubs and was a cheerleader from 7th grade through 12th. Bachman says “I was a candidate for homecoming.” She also says, “We didn't have all the different sports/activities that they have now and living on a dairy farm 10 miles from town kept our family busy.”

Bachman is currently retired after working at the Midwest Bank for 26 and a half years as a senior vice president/human resources manager.

When asked what Bachman does for the Pierce community she says, “I have held different positions with the Pierce Chamber of Commerce over the years. One being the treasurer for over 10 years. I am currently the treasurer for the Pierce Business Association. I have held the position of treasurer for two different terms for St Joseph’s altar society. I was on the committee for both Pierce’s 125th and 150th celebrations. Played a part in helping to start and organize the Pierce Booster Club. I have been a mentor for three different mentees with Teammates at Pierce High School. I have also helped with different events/fundraisers for different needs in the Pierce community.”

Bachman says, “It is important to give back to the community so we can keep it thriving and booming so we can attract young families to move here. It takes everyone working together to achieve this.”

Bachman feels Pierce is a great place to live because we have a lot to offer families. We have a great school system, Willow Creek Lake, Pierce Community Golf Course and friendly people.”

When asked what kind of role model she is, Bachman responds with, ”I like to think I am the type of role model who shows a good work ethic, honest, respectful of others and works as a team player.”

She says, “I have had two role models in my working career. They were my two bosses that I had in my different jobs. In my personal life it is my parents. I am what/who I am today because of what they taught me.”

Bachman is just another unspoken hero in the Pierce Community.

Unspoken Hero: Melinda Stelling
By Alanna McKeown

Melinda Stelling graduated from Le Mars Community High School in Le Mars, Iowa and then attended Westmar College in Le Mars. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in math education with endorsements in physical education and coaching. Stelling taught math at Pierce Jr./Sr. High School for the past 35 years. This was her first and only teaching job. She also coached various sports throughout those 35 years, most recently girls golf and girls/boys track and field. 

Stelling does a lot for the community. She is a Fellowship of Christian Athletes huddle leader with her husband. She is on the organization committee for Hands for Christ-Pierce youth mission fest. She is a Pierce Jr./Sr. high school teammates mentor. Along with these volunteer activities, Stelling is on the Pierce community golf course board member and a Pierce county extension board member. Stelling is on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Board of Directors for Northeast Nebraska and she helps with funerals and VBS at Zion Lutheran Church. 

Stelling states, “I think it’s important to give back for several reasons. First, we are called to serve and not be served. God has given me talents, abilities, resources, knowledge, and interests to use in constructive ways. Whether it be mentoring, serving on a board, or doing

community service, I hope I am having a positive impact on people and helping to make this community a better place. Also, many hands make light work. If each individual is

willing to do his/her part, it makes less work for everyone. Pierce is a great place to be because of its friendly, midwestern vibe. Pierce has great schools, churches, businesses, and parks. It’s small enough that people feel safe, yet large enough to offer many opportunities for children and adults. My hope is that I portray myself as a hard-working, cheerful, optimistic person who shows care and concern for the people I come into contact with every day, and that my “glass-half-full” mentality rubs off on others. My role model is Jesus Christ. He is the epitome of love and servanthood. I fall short of His character every day but strive to be more like him to make this world a better place.”

The community of Pierce is proud to call Stelling an unspoken hero. 

Unspoken Heroes: Sharon Lesser
By Brianna Rundell

Sharon Lesser graduated from Norfolk Senior High and has spent most of her life in Pierce. She has five children who were all raised in Pierce. Lesser was a bus driver for 43 years for Pierce Public Schools. 

One of the many reasons Lesser is an unspoken hero in the Pierce community is because Lesser and a few other women from her church helped restart the food pantry that had not been running for several years. 

She believes it is important to give back to the community because she sees the benefits it brings. “It's important to give back when you see the benefits for yourself of what the people have done for you; you want to return that same thing to people that are in need. We have to look at the people around us and take care of them and make sure that they have the things that they need, and we just have to look out for the people in our community because if we don't they're going to move away.”

She also thinks that Pierce is a great place to be because she says, “I like to walk down the streets and have people know my name, and Pierce has always been a very friendly outgoing town, and they welcome strangers and want them to be part of our special kind of life that we have in our town.”

Then again, everyone has someone who they look up to. Lesser has always looked up to her mother and grandmother. Lesser claimed they always took care of everyone and always saw the good in people.

Thank you to Sharon Lesser for being an unspoken hero of the Pierce community.

Unspoken Heroes: Cheryl Higgins
By Brianna Rundell

Cheryl Higgins graduated from Northeast Community College and began working with TCI (Town & Country Insurance) in Pierce in 1984. Currently, she is a claim representative for TCI; her primary duty is to help those with claims, whether homeowners, cars, etc. March 1 was her 40th anniversary working for TCI. 

Higgins always tries to do something for her community by serving in organizations and committees. 

“Your community isn't going to thrive unless people get involved,” Higgins mentions. “If everyone took the attitude that it’s not me, then there is going to be nobody on any committees.” 

Higgins is also involved with her church as a choir director and part of the community prayer breakfast coming up during holy week. She has been mentoring with the Teammates mentoring program at Pierce High School for around 20 years and was the first mentor Pierce ever had.

She also believes it's important to give back. “Like I said, if you don't give back to the community, it's not going to thrive. I have always been a firm believer that if you don't give something, you are not going to get anything back.”

She always strives to be positive every day and tries to see the best in everything and every person. 

Thank you to Cheryl Higgins for being an unspoken hero of the Pierce community. 

Unspoken Hero: Cindy Warneke
By Skylar Scholting

Cindy Warneke is a prominent face in our Pierce community. She is constantly volunteering in the community in many different ways. 

Warneke has been involved in various church roles including youth ministry for 30 years, parish council, Altar Society, youth mission trips, adult bible study/prayer groups, lectoring, ushering, sacristan and eucharist minister, setting up for baptisms, organizing meals for new parents, helping with the youth stations of the cross presentation, and visiting new church members.

Warnke has also done a lot within the community including volunteering her time with the booster club, Pierce alumni association, Pierce Chamber of Commerce, serving on the Pierce Public school board, and leading the Hands for Christ youth community service weekend. 

Warneke states, “I feel it is important to be involved in the difference and improvement I want to see in my community.”

Warneke has said that her most rewarding experiences and favorite memories have been the mission trips with the youth at church and the Hands for Christ mission.

Thank you to Cindy Warneke for all you do as an unspoken hero in Pierce.











Pierce Public Schools 201 N. Sunset St. Pierce, NE  68767

402.329.6217 Fax: 402.329.4678

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Back To Top