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Article - Parents who gave receive from children

Parents who gave, receive from children

Parents who gave, receive from children

Harvey and Betty Henning taught their sons to love their fellow man.

Posted: Fri, Jan 25, 2013

Harvey and Betty Henning taught their sons to love their fellow man.

They taught them to help make their hometown, Kearney, a better place. Read on to see what the sons recently did for UNK in honor of their big-hearted parents.

From a conversation with son Tom Henning:

Everyone is my dad's friend. I don't think the guy has an enemy in the world. He has a big heart. And my mom's a neat lady. She's a former piano teacher with perfect pitch. She can play anything she hears.

She taught music for a number of years and taught my brothers and me how to play. They have always been great givers of their time. They always believed in giving back, and I guess that just became the basic philosophy of our family.

They grew up in tough times. My dad was just a boy when his dad died. They farmed but didn't own the land. One day, my dad went to town with just 11 cents to buy meat for the family.

They were poor, but they always seemed to work it out. My dad was still just a boy when he started working for Cash-Wa Distributing. During World War II, he'd ride his bicycle out to the Army air base and refill the vending machines with candy. In 1957, he and a partner bought Cash-Wa, and my family eventually became its sole owner.

After my dad retired, he'd send people my way – hardship cases he met at church or wherever, people down on their luck – and he'd say, "This guy's coming down to see you." I knew that was my cue to hire him.

My parents went to college for a couple of years, but they never got degrees. They wish they had graduated. They've always valued education. They're so proud that most of their kids and grandkids have graduated from the University of Nebraska. They know how much the university has done over the years to help the state's quality of life and its economy.

My brothers and I established the Henning Family Scholarship Fund at UNK in their honor. We're glad we did it while they're still alive. They were real tickled when we told them. They lit up like lights.

When you look around at Kearney – a community that didn't used to have a lot of wealth – you see that so many people have been generous. If you look at all that's been created here in the last 15 or 18 years, you see many real successes – whether it's the city parks, the museums or the scholarships at the university.

A lot of people here want to improve life for their fellow man. It seems to be a part of our fiber.

The Lord's been good to our family. The more we give, the more it seems that we receive. Not that you do it for that reason. If you've got something, I think the Good Lord expects that you give a certain percentage of that for the benefit of mankind. That's what our parents taught us.

They always taught us that, at the end of the day, people remember what you did for others more than the fact that you made "X" amount of dollars or achieved any recognition or notoriety in life.

Student support is a priority of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you, like the Hennings, also would like to support University of Nebraska students through scholarships, please consider giving online or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.

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