KrisAnn Sullivan
Frank House director, 308.865.8284 OR

Five Frank House volunteers will be recognized for their exemplary service at the Frank House Volunteer and Friend Reception set for 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 9, at the historic mansion, which is located on the University of Nebraska at Kearney West Campus.

The five honorees, all of Kearney, include Del and Alice Hemsaths, Rachael Downs, Jessie Harris and Catherine (Cat) Allen. All are recipients of 2012 Frank House Volunteer of the Year awards.

The Hemsaths, Del and Alice, lead the volunteer group of the Soil Sisters and Misters. The two, along with other members of the organization, tend the Frank House Gardens every year. The two said that their favorite activity was working with young students enrolled in the KCLC (Kearney Community Learning Center) program. The middle-school aged students spent eight weeks learning some of the wonders of nature and “hopefully started an appetite for working with plants,” Alice said.

The two said that they enjoy volunteering at the Frank House because, “We can see and monitor many different types of plants in one location, and working outside provides an opportunity to have physical activity while having fun doing something that we enjoy working at. We also became more familiar with what Kearney has to offer, met a variety of people and made new friends.”

Rachael Downs, one of the more recent Frank House volunteers, has devoted around five hours per week helping preserve the many historical photos and records of the Frank House, and making them more accessible.

“I enjoy volunteering at the Frank House, because I have a passion for preserving history,” Downs said. “The Frank House has such a unique and abundant place in Kearney history. I am able to organize and interact with 100 year old archives, and I love every minute of it!”

Jessie Harris, who will be a sophomore at Kearney High School this fall, has dedicated more than 165 hours to giving tours, cleaning, researching and promoting the Frank House.

“I love volunteering at the Frank House, because I love the history of it all,” she said. “We discover things that no one has ever found before. I don’t do this just because it will look good on a college application, or because I need hours for a class, it’s my version of fun. Being able to discover everything we have just by doing a little research and some cleaning is reward in itself.”

Catherine (Cat) Allen, who will also be a sophomore at Kearney High School this fall, is beginning her fifth year as a Frank House volunteer.

“Although a tour guide and visitor attendant for most of her volunteer hours, she may be better known as the huggable Frank House Easter Bunny!” said Frank House Director KrisAnn Sullivan.

While at the Frank House, attendees will see the recent enhancements of the house, explore the photos in the “PhotoVoice” exhibit by Kearney youth, tour Eliza’s newly redesigned room (and meet the designer, Bryan Frost), and visit with members of the Frank House Advisory Board. Refreshments will be served.

“The Frank House Volunteer and Friend Reception is free and open to the public,” Sullivan said. “We will celebrate the Frank House, honor its volunteers and friends, and share their stories in the community.”

For more information, visit, and find the Frank House on Facebook at to stay up-to-date with the Frank House activities.