Grand Island woman wins Jeep; '25 Keys' benefits Heartland United Way

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Grand Island woman wins Jeep; '25 Keys' benefits Heartland United Way
Jeff Bahr Independent/Josh Salmon

Tammy Zigler was the winner of Heartland United Way’s “25 Keys To Christmas” Thursday night in Grand Island. Twenty-four people took home new ice scrapers from Tom Dinsdale Automotive Thursday night.

Their joy, though, was nothing compared to that of Tammy Zigler, who took home a new vehicle.

As this year’s winner of the Heartland United Way car giveaway, Zigler is now the owner of a 2021 Jeep Gladiator Willys 4x4.

What are her plans for the vehicle?

“I’m going to drive it,” said a happy Zigler.
She currently drives a Buick Enclave. Moments after winning the Jeep, it was too early to figure out what she’s going to do with the Enclave.

“I’m shaking. It’s very exciting. I’ve never won anything this big,” she said.

Zigler and her husband, Mike, live in Grand Island. They have three children, ages 32, 29 and 21.

“I’m a strong believer in the United Way. I’ve supported them for over 30 years,” she said, adding that her husband is also a strong supporter.

For 36 years, Zigler has worked at Principal Financial.

“They’re a big supporter of United Way,” she said. She used to serve on the Heartland United Way board, where she got an opportunity “to see firsthand what they do.”

Mike, who drives a pickup, is retired from CNH Industrial.

During the “25 Keys of Christmas Car Giveaway,” 24 names are drawn before the night of the giveaway. A 25th name was added Thursday night. That person has to be present.

After five tries, Jaye Monter became the 25th finalist.

Each of those finalists chooses a numbered ice scraper from an assortment laid out on the hood of the Gladiator. Each of them bowed out as their number was called.

At the end, two people were left standing — Zigler and Melissa Placke, who works for Grand Island Public Schools. Placke’s number was called, making her the runner-up.

Heartland United Way President Karen Rathke said the real winners were those who’ve benefited from “your generous support” during the years.

The vehicle was donated by Tom and Kim Dinsdale.

In order to qualify, each person had to donate at least $260 to Heartland United Way.
Thursday night’s emcee was Derek Apfel. The co-chairs of this year’s campaign are D.J. and Kathy Eihusen.

Rathke said the Eihusens are “the most genuine, authentic people” who are sincerely committed to making a difference “and leaving a footprint in this world.”

The goal for this year’s Heartland United Way drive is $1.5 million. The current total was announced at Thursday’s drawing.

It is $1,411,418. D.J. Eihusen is certain the goal will be met because totals from a couple of reliable donors have yet to be announced.

The other 23 finalists were Eva Heminger of Principal, Brandon Bowley of Home Federal Bank, Chris Dawson of Nebraska Peterbilt, Chase Davis of Hornady, Kevin Dvorak of Hornady, Kevin Wilkinson of Dinsdale Automotive, Rick Washburn of First National Bank, Randy Gard of Bosselman Enterprises, Kim Kemptar of Principal, Jimmy Sleeper of Hornady, Elizabeth Smith of Hornady, Scott Bartos of Dramco, Dave Richardson of Equitable Bank, Brenda Martens of Hornady, Joey Burnham of CNH Industrial, Dave Plond of the Overland Trails Boy Scout Council, Lynn Johnson of Chief Construction, Shari Hill-Taylor of Credit Management, Melissa DeLaet and Dori Wanitschke, both of the Greater Grand Island Community Foundation, and Kent Wilke and Mary Kuntz, who are retired.

At the end of the night, Apfel passed on a message from Tom Dindale: Those who didn’t win still can buy a car from Dinsdale Automotive.