Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Friends and Neighbors: Glynn Felkins

Semi-retirement sure keeps a guy busy


Penny Merryfield

Glynn Felkins talks with others at the old Kimball High School, now owned by the Plains Historical Society, following a workday.

Traveling through Kimball decades ago with his young family, Glynn Felkins never imagined he would one day call Kimball his home. Originally from Commerce City, Colo., Felkins said he has no regrets moving to Kimball with his wife of 52 years, Ann.

"We used to come through Kimball when we would go to Crawford to visit Ann's parents," Felkins said. "We used to stop at the old drive-in, Dogs-n-Suds, and then take the kids to the park, never knowing that we would someday live here."

Felkins was a construction worker in Colorado and he volunteered for twenty-two years on the fire department there. During his time as a volunteer fireman he went on more than 7,000 calls.

He said he could write a book on those experiences. One of his favorite stories from that time his crew was called to rescue a small black bear out of a cottonwood tree.

The bear had escaped his handler at the animal shelter where he was being held and apparently decided to do some public relations for the Colorado Game and Fish Commission, Felkins said.

He and another man climbed a ladder with a handful of grapes and when the little black bear, weighing approximately 40 pounds, was offered the grapes he grabbed ahold of the man and was carried down the ladder to safety.

Volunteers don't always get to recall happy endings such as that of the little black bear and Felkins recalls plenty of tragedy as well.

Felkins' department was called to the scene of a massive refinery explosion at Continental Oil Company in the early hours of an October morning, 1978. Three men died that morning and nine more were injured. Hundreds of rescuers, Felkins included, fought gas leaks, shattered glass and billowing black smoke and Felkins describes that day as utter chaos.

All three of their children grew up to be police officers, though now their eldest traded in his badge to take up ranching in South Dakota. With their children grown he and Ann left Colorado to "semi-retire" in Kimball, which they enjoy as a quiet and peaceful community.

Here Felkins builds fences, and not one to remain idle, he volunteers with the Plains Historical Society, though his early involvement with the organization was not exactly his idea.

"I got strong-armed by Terry Lukassen," he joked. "She asked me for help and I told her I could help and they never let me go."

The president of the local historical society, Felkins said that of the 12 available positions eight are filled.

The Plains Historical Society mission statement, since the organization was formed in 1958, is to procure, collect artifacts and preserve the museum.

Felkins welcomes all interested parties to the board meetings and to the Plains Historical Society.


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