Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce
This Week Feature
Christmas Wonderland 2013
Hendrickson Part of the Action Since 1959
by Jean Issler
Bruce Hendrickson has been a member of the Holdrege Area Chamber of Commerce since 1959. He is retired from business now and has stepped back from chamber activities, but maintains an individual membership.
"It's important for people to be part of the action," said Hendrickson. He wants to keep supporting the activities of the Chamber.
Hendrickson has been part of the action in Holdrege his entire life. His father, Carl, started Principal Financial in Holdrege on July 1, 1925 and Bruce started working with his dad in the early 1950s.
When Hendrickson graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1952, he married his wife Carol right away in June, and then went to work at his father's business. The US Navy called him away from March 1953 to July 1956. His ship was stationed out of San Diego, so Carol joined him there.
Hendrickson came back to the firm after the service. "I had the privilege of working with my father for 25 years," he said.
The junior Hendrickson worked in 2003, leaving the firm in the hands of Tom Carlson and Sheila Tringe. He still has an office at Principal, but it is used now for working with non-profits.
In addition to work, Hendrickson had a hand in many events in Holdrege through the Jaycees, the Chamber, and the Holdrege Industrial Development Corporation (HIDC). In the Chamber, he served on the Long Range Planning committee, Industrial Committee and Board of Directors.
One of his early projects was to chair Band Day. The Chamber executive at the time, Cletus Nelson, knew that Hendrickson had been in the university band during college so he recruited him to head up the event. Hendrickson secured the US Navy band to perform. He recalls that they had a parade in the morning and then the Navy band and the students played a matinee concert.
Service to education has been a part of Hendrickson's life. He was on board of governors for Central Community College. Dick Brown of Holdrege, who was Susan Perry's father, was on the first board of governors for the college. Hendrickson stepped into the vacancy when Brown passed away.
Hendrickson also served on the Education Commission of the States, an interstate compact whose members are appointed by the Legislature.
Hendrickson has also volunteered his time and talents in his profession and his church. In 1965, he was elected president of the state underwriters association. In 1975, he became the first Nebraskan to be president of the national underwriters association. He also served as president of the National Council of Presbyterian Churches.
Of all the projects Hendrickson has been involved in, he feels that perhaps the most meaningful was HIDC's doctor recruitment. "Bringing young physicians to Holdrege and establishing a clinic was an important accomplishment," he said.
The HIDC recruited doctors to fill a need in Holdrege. After some time, four new doctors were practicing in the High Plains clinic. One of the four, Dr. Richard Reiner, still has his practice in the original building.
"I have always been involved in church, community and professional activities," said Hendrickson. "After the Navy I spent ten years locally involved, then fifteen years nationally. Then I came back to local."
The Chamber gave Hendrickson a Lifetime Achievement Award a few years ago. It seems it was well earned.