North Bend Eagle

 

 
Butch Ott in the North Bend Veterans Park
Butch Ott holds the brass plaque that will go on the base of teh center statue in the North Bend Area Veterans' Park. He and his wife, Alvertus, recently became major financial donors tp the park.

Ott major donor in time, now money

by Mary Le Arneal
posted 10/01/08

Butch Ott invested a major amount of time to see that North Bend area had a park to honor military veterans. With a $5,000 donation, he has now become a major financial donor.

Ott has served as chairman of the North Bend Area Veterans’ Park committee since it was organized in October 2002. The first couple of years the retired electrician figures he spent 20 to 30 hours a week working on the project. Now it’s down to about ten hours a week spent doing park business.

“It was worth every minute of my time, every penny I put into it,” Ott said.

The park, located at 9th and Main in North Bend, has a center statue honoring combat soldiers. On the base of the statue are brass plaques to honor those who have donated $5,000 or more to the park. Ott said he always planned on having his name up there, but wanted to do it himself, though others have offered to make the donation in his honor.

For his 70th birthday last month, his wife, Alvertus, brought the amount he had saved to the needed $5,000 and had the brass plaque made to give to him.

“I was really surprised,” Ott said. “ Alvertus and Butch are now major donors, but my name is on the plaque.”

The plaque reads:
Wilbur ‘Butch’ Ott
Chairman of the Veterans
Park Committee
U.S. Navy 1955 - 1959
North Bend’s Uncle Sam

Ott joined the Navy after graduating from Fremont High School, a dream he had since childhood. He was an AQ3 in the Navy, planning on making it a career, but the career path did not work out the way he wanted, so he got out in 1959. He moved to Omaha, working as an electrician for
37 years.

In 1993 the Otts were looking in Iowa, Missouri as well as Nebraska, for an acreage to purchase. When Alvertus saw their present home she fell in love with it and the Otts settled on their Stones Throw Farm south of Morse Bluff.

Ott became involved in local veterans organizations and when the veterans park idea was brought up, he became involved, doing whatever was needed to promote the park. That’s when the Uncle Sam side of Ott came about. In 2003 a sign was put up at the park bearing an Uncle Sam likeness asking for donations. The veterans were going to visit school children, so Ott got an Uncle Sam outfit to associate with the park. Ott has worn his Uncle Sam outfit for Veteran’s Day, Old Settlers and at grade school events.

One year he had to ride in the Old Settlers parade. Later that summer a child came up to him when he was watching his grandchildren at the North Bend pool. She asked if he was Uncle Sam. He replied in the positive.

“We like it better when you walk in the parade,” the child responded.

Ott had a good laugh. He’s happy that children recognize him and associate him with Uncle Sam and the park.

Ott is very pleased with the Veterans’ Park and the way the community has received and treated it. He credits the Veteran’s Day programs at the schools with instilling pride in the park in the students.

“Except for one incident,” Ott said, “we’ve had no problem with respect to the park.”

The major donations, and all the small ones too, have made this park possible. The actual park is paid for, with contributions now going toward maintenance - lights, water, mowing, snow removal, etc. - that are needed to keep the park a source of pride to the community.

Butch Ott has staked his claim in the park, not only with his investment of time, but now as a major financial donor, ensuring the future of the North Bend Area Veterans’ Park.

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