The legacy left behind by Gene Twiford

Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 5:42 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - The residents of Laurel and surrounding communities have been leaning on each other to get through this tough time.

A comforting thought shared amongst the public is knowing that Gene’s impact will live on.

“Gene Twiford and his family weren’t just a treasure to Laurel. They were a treasure to the state, they were a treasure to veterans, they were a treasure to nationally making sure the Medal of Honor Highway was done here in Nebraska. I can’t tell the state, all of my fellow Nebraskans closely enough or in a way they could understand that we all lost something that day,” said Daryl Harrison, a friend of Gen’s who is also the President of the Nebraska Medal of Honor Foundation.

The city of Laurel Nebraska has been shaken to its core after it lost 4 of its own Thursday morning.

Indescribable emotions have washed over the residents of the city of Laurel and state of Nebraska.

“It will reverberate across rural America, when you see somebody of the citizen caliber of the Twiford’s can be harmed in such a way in a small town also,” said Harrison.

In the community the Twiford’s were well know for many reasons.

After reflecting on his relationship with the family, Harrison spoke about the character of the Twiford’s.

“You could tell that this was a family of patriots, a family of love, a family of givers,” said Harrison

Patriotic has been used to describe the family and for good reason.

Gene, who was a veteran and very active at the American Legion in Laurel has left a lasting impact on the state.

This impact is so great his fellow veterans wanted it to be know that they would call him “The father of the Nebraska Medal of Honor Highway.”

Without him they say the Nebraska Medal of Honor Highway wouldn’t have happened.

“If Gene hadn’t taken the reigns, this project from ocean to ocean had began to stall,” said Harrison.

Gene would call Harrison every Sunday to get the latest updates on more signs being made for the Highway.

There is a new community recognition sign that will be going up in some communities.

“We were trying to find a time to get together so I could show him what I had, because I had the first two made. And he never got to see them, so that hurt,” said Harrison.

Harrison felt it was only right the Twiford family was presented a sign in a gesture of gratitude for Gene’s persistent effort and dedication.

“I presented them with the first Nebraska Medal of Honor community sign off the press, and that meant a lot to them,” said Harrison

In a time where the community will need some comfort, they know that the Twiford’s impact will not fade.

“Memories, you know, you’re not going to forget that guy. He’s one of those people you know that’s going to stay you know he’ll live on as long as we live on,” said John Ludwick, the Post 307 Commander and friend of Gene’s.

When the initial Nebraska Medal of Honor Highway signs were being placed, only 1 city received two signs to be placed.

As you travel into Laurel heading east you will see one... and as you exit the city heading east you will see the other.

These two were placed just outside of Laurel honoring Gene’s effort and commitment to his community.

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