A donation of $3,500 to the North Platte High School food pantry Friday came from money collected over the years after a tragic accident at Lake Maloney 40 years ago.
A boater hit the wall along the north side of Lake Maloney at night and was killed. In fact, said Lanny Moore, a number of boats hit the wall because there were no lights along the dam.
“At night you just can’t see it,” Moore said. “It looks like more lake at night.”
Moore talked to Bob Peterson at Nebraska Public Power District about putting lights up there. Peterson said NPPD would pay for the electricity if Moore would install the lights. So Moore formed the Lake Maloney Light Fund Committee.
“We put on a walleye tournament and raised some money over the years,” Moore said. “We got the lights up and then we maintained them.”
The funds raised paid for maintenance of the lights. The project began in about 1980. A few years ago, the original lights were replaced with LED lights that are now embedded in the wall.
“For about 30 years we maintained the lights,” Moore said. “They weren’t always working, but you could at least see the wall.”
Once the LED lights were installed, there was no longer a need for the committee to maintain the lights.
“We had some money in the light fund and it just sat there for several years,” Moore said, “so we decided we ought to do something with it.”
Moore’s daughter Molly Morales is involved with the school’s pantry and she suggested the money be donated to their cause.
“Last year the Salvation Army brought us all their supplies for the backpack program,” Morales said. “With COVID this year, you can’t have community school supplies for kids.”
Morales said the pantry has ordered 600 backpacks and will fill them with school supplies using the Light Fund Committee donation.
“We’re going to do a mobile school supply program,” Morales said.
Parents whose children are enrolled in the district will be able to drive through the NPHS parking lot from 3-7 p.m. Aug. 4 and pick up the backpacks full of supplies.
Current committee members are Ray and Darice Sundstrom, Lanny and Alfie Moore, Dean and Linda Oman, Mark Lawrence, Roger Young, Connie Starling, Hector and Molly Morales, and Jerry Christensen.