By EARL WATT
• Daily Leader
Nancy Parsons is going to die.
Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but at some point Nancy knows she will be a permanent part of the past.
And when the inevitable occurs, she wants the Coronado Museum and the Seward County Historical Society to receive $1 million.
Nancy and her husband Don have looked into a life insurance policy that will name the Society the owner of the policy, and by doing so will insure that there are secured funds that can be used for the benefit of the museum.
“When you look at some of these museums that are not heavily tax supported, they need some sort of funding that will keep them going,” Don said.
Seward County Historical Society has no such funding source.
The organization receives $80,000 from Seward County, but that money is used for the operation of the museum. There are no finances to expand the facility or to bring in special exhibits. While Liberal’s population has almost doubled since 1980, the square footage of the museum has remained the same, with most of the exhibits the same.
Basically, the museum can only fund what it currently provides and nothing more.
That’s where an endowment can help.
With a secured $1 million gift, the Society will be able to secure grants and plan for a brighter future.
But without the policy, the Coronado Museum will continue to simply exist.
“We have roots here,” Nancy said.
Their love for the history of the community is apparent. Nancy serves on the Society’s Board of Directors, and Don has been a volunteer at a number of the museum’s events.
“We love the history from this area,” Don said. “One day, there will be computers in museums. I remember the first typewriters, and now they are in museums. The farming equipment my dad used, things like that, they need to be preserved and remembered for the generations to come. We would both like to see our heritage passed on.”
The rural way of life has been good to Don and Nancy, and because of that they want to give back.
“You need to give back,” Nancy said. “Growing up on a farm, I learned discipline. As a third grader, I cooked the meals and did the laundry. I thought everybody did. When I got to high school with the city kids, I learned not everybody did. But what I learned on the farm helped me be successful later in life. We need to honor our history, and today’s kids need to know how hard their parents and grandparents worked.”
The Parsons did not have any children of their own, and the museum has become a sort of offspring, something that they have been able to provide some care.
But the best gift they could provide would be to provide their life, literally, for the museum’s benefit.
“Nancy is young enough and healthy enough to do this,” Don said.
To secure the policy, Nancy will have to pass a health exam, and she has to do it prior to the end of June, otherwise, the premium will increase.
“If we can get this done in the next six weeks, the premium will be $196,232,” Don said. “After that, it goes up $20,000.”
But the Parsons cannot pay the premium by themselves and are looking for others who want to be a part of the $1 million gift to the Society.
“If Nancy had more money, we would do this ourselves,” Don quipped. “But we will need others to make a contribution to the Museum to make this happen.”
Donations to the museum are tax deductible.
In the first day of announcing the fund at a special board meeting of the Historical Society, the fund received pledges of more than $30,000.
Those who would like to make a contribution to the fund can do so by calling Nancy at 629-0828 or executive director Joanne Mansell at 624-7624.
“We want to give back, and get others involved,” Nancy said.
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