About Our Founder
Don Marquard was a recovering alcoholic. Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic. In other words, an alcoholic can never take one drink without the possibility of trouble. Don came to know this through Alcoholic Anonymous. For twenty-seven years, he had known complete and continuous sobriety. He was able to do this because he followed the Twelve Steps of A.A.
Don became an advocate to help others who were suffering from alcoholism. He did it in person to person contact with alcoholics and their families. He was a warm spirited person, honest with himself and others and willing to help others who wanted help.
He became certified in the field of alcoholism at Columbia University, the University of Wisconsin and the University of Nebraska and Kearney State College. He became a well-known and loyal member of A.A., attending regional and national meetings and sometimes called to speak on this theme. For twenty-two years or longer, he continued as a counselor to alcoholics and families. He and Mrs. Marquard started the first Alateen in Grand Island.
1966, a dream began to take shape. In that summer about fifty businessmen in Grand Island began to meet to think about what could be done to help scores of persons, hundreds of persons in need because of alcoholism. They thought of the formation of an information and referral center, they dreamed of more facilities for A.A. meetings reaching out to so many affected by alcoholism. From this group came the board of directors of the Central Nebraska Council on Alcoholism (CNCA). Progress was slow and money did not come easily, but on April 17, 1967, offices were secured in downtown Grand Island and a program of service and information and counseling began. It continues to this day, touching the lives of thousands of persons in Grand Island and surrounding territory.
The movement of information, education, and counseling has grown in many ways. From one A.A. meeting held down in the basement of the Yancy Hotel, there are now many meetings held each week, held in churches and other institutions. There are Alanon meetings for spouses of alcoholics. There are meetings of Alateen for teenage children of alcoholics. Other improvements have been made to help persons and the community face up to the reality of alcoholism and the help so many persons and families need. Of course, scores of men and women in this community have pitched in to help this program of service and education become a reality (Thank God for them). But most would agree that Don Marquard has been in the forefront all the way. Not only had he continued to be a good neighbor in face to face relationships, he had been a good neighbor in helping to expand the program so that increasing numbers of persons may be helped.”