Laurel community stands strong together at annual Cruise Night & Car Show

Published: Aug. 11, 2022 at 10:45 PM CDT
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LAUREL, Neb. (KTIV) - The Laurel Cruise Night and Car Show is an event that happens every year, but Thursday night the community showed up in full force to show their love and support.

Vintage cars filled the streets, and smiles were back on people’s faces as the town of Laurel, Nebraska came out to stand strong together. Tragedy has shaken the small town, but those who live there are still finding a way to make a difference.

“So I heard about Cruise Night and I thought maybe I wanted to do a lemonade stand for like a fundraiser for something and maybe donate it to somewhere. And then when the accident happened, I guess I thought maybe of doing the Twifords and the other lady, and doing it for funeral expenses,” said Stella Graham, a Laurel resident.

At just 10 years old, Stella thought of a way to honor the families who lost loved ones. She remembers the smile of Gene Twiford who would frequently visit her mom’s shop.

“The whole family was really nice. And they would always care for Laurel and do a bunch of stuff for Laurel,” said Graham.

Just across the way, firefighters with Laurel Fire & Rescue were busy grilling burgers and hot dogs for their annual fundraiser, with this year’s funds going to their new fire hall. They say this year was above and beyond what they’ve ever done.

This BBQ fundraiser is one that Laurel Fire & Rescue hosts every year but this time the entire town came out to give an extra special ‘Thank You.’

“We don’t do it for the ‘Thank you.’ We do it because we want to give back to our community. And it just means a whole lot for us for everybody to come out,” said Lisa Clausen, Laurel Fire Rescue EMS President.

After a week full of unanswered questions, one thing was clear: Thursday night was one to remember the positives of the tight-knit Laurel community.

“A lot of times when bad things happen, we tend to focus on all those bad things. And this is just a suretale sign of all the positive things that are in the world and in small communities. Even though bad things happen, there’s still good out there,” said Rachel Steffen, Laurel Chamber Co-President.

Laurel’s Chief of Police told KTIV that Laurel Fire & Rescue put out the fires at last week’s crime scenes with no water except the outside areas. This was to preserve the evidence for investigations. It’s another reason why Laurel residents wanted to thank the firefighters in a big way.

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