Mayor Chris Beutler today announced that Jim McKee and Linda Hillegass will receive the third annual Lincoln Luminary Award at the Winter Lights event Friday, December 7. The event is from 6 to 7 p.m. at Tower Square at 13th and "P" streets. The Mayor will present the award at a brief ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The event will also include music from the Northeast High School Chamber Singers and the La Iglesia De La Comunidad Church band, treats, refreshments and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus.
McKee and Hillegass are longtime owners of Lee Booksellers. McKee also owns The Coinery and maintains a publishing business. As a well-known local historian, McKee writes a weekly column for the Lincoln Journal Star and gives many community presentations. Hillegass gives her time to many nonprofits, including the Lincoln Literacy Council, the Food Bank of Lincoln and Lincoln City Libraries.
In her nomination, the couple's friend Sara Keene wrote, "Jim and Linda together are a quiet and humble force for Lincoln. They have spent their lives working for the betterment of the Lincoln community with absolutely zero pursuit of personal accolades."
The couple has one daughter, three granddaughters and three great-grandchildren.
Leadership Lincoln facilitated the selection process for the award, which honors an individual who "has displayed consistent and intentional actions that demonstrate Lincoln's values and has gone above and beyond in making an impact on Lincoln and its citizens." Previous winners were Randy Hawthorne in 2016 and Nancy and Dennis Carlson in 2017.
Event partners include the City Parks and Recreation Department, Leadership Lincoln, the Downtown Lincoln Association and the Lincoln Parks Foundation.