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2018 Distinguished Service Awards

Updated: Feb 19, 2019

The Blair Community Schools Foundation is pleased to announce two recipients of this year's Distinguished Service Award, Preston Ricker and Nathan Tanderup!

Nathan Tanderup

​Nathan Tanderup moved to Blair in 1988, when he was in the 7th grade. Nathan's parents are Art and Helen; he likes spending time at their farm by Neligh. Nathan's sister, Vanessa, is married to Gerald Brand. Nathan loves being an uncle to six-year old Kyle and four-year old Amelia.

Throughout school Nathan enjoyed Blair Special Olympics and cheering on the Blair Bears. Nate graduated in 1996. He worked at Oehler Brothers restaurant in Blair before it closed. He loved working at Dana College while it was open. He was a huge fan of the Dana Vikings sports teams. After Dana closed, Nate was fortunate to get a job with Blair Community Schools, first at Otte Middle School and currently at the High School. He works part-time at Runza during the summer.

Nathan experienced great success in Special Olympics. He has earned many state medals. Competing in powerlifting at the National Games in Ames, Iowa in 2006 was an experience to remember. Other memorable moments include competing in powerlifting at the World Games in Dublin, Ireland in 2003. He also qualified for the World Games in 2007 in track and field and traveled to Shanghai, China.

Nate's enthusiasm for Blair Bears remains. He can be seen at almost every sporting event. He will definitely be a life long fan of the Blair Bears.

Preston Ricker

Preston Ricker is very proud to be a native son of Blair, born on July 4, 1971, a championship year for the Huskers. He's convinced there is a direct correlation to those two events. GO!! BIG!! RED!! When his Dad got elected to be Mayor of Blair, Preston decided that meant he became the "First Son of Blair", and always wants to "put his best foot forward" when interacting with the citizens.

Preston started public school in 1976 at the Jackson Street campus, a house for all special education students, situated across the street from North School. He won the heart of Mrs. Nila Legenhausen, the kindergarten teacher at North, who requested Preston join her class for lunch and a few activities...the beginning of integration for that population. He continued to blaze a trail as he progressed through the school system, sharing art, P.E., vocal music, home economics, FHA, and other opportunities afforded to students. Preston graduated with the class of 1992. His successful educational journey included many wonderful teachers, but high school teacher, Tami Huff, provided the finishing touches in helping make Preston who he is today. She has invited him back every school year to spend Mondays being a role model for students in her class, and introducing another Freshman class to the #1 Blair Bear's fan. His senior year, Mrs. Huff arranged for job training at the Blair Pizza Hut, his "dream job". This May, he has worked there 28 years, and he still LOVES pizza!

Preston, a downhill skier, was a member of the first Nebraska team to compete in the Special Olympics International Winter Games in Park City, Utah and won Nebraska's first gold medal. He was also made an Admiral in the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska by Governor Ben Nelson.

But, of most importance to Preston is, friends, co-workers, and everyone he meets. If he has shared a moment with you, he loves you, cares about you, and adds you to his "worry beads" list. He has made his mom and dad better people, and his world a better place.


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