Wednesday, May 22, 2019

BLOG: Wayne's Story

by Jennifer Wemhoff, Groundwater Foundation

Wayne Madsen loved groundwater. He spent his career as a well driller with the family business he inherited from his father, tapping into the groundwater resources of Southwest Nebraska. He had a vision for the next generation of groundwater professionals, that they would be educated, engaged, and community-minded.

Wayne acted to make that vision a reality.

Wally and Wanda Water Drop
He saw the value in educating youth about groundwater. He was heavily involved in educating tens of thousands of kids at the Groundwater Foundation’s Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival. There they learned what groundwater is, how it moves, how we all rely on it, and planted the seeds for a lifetime of groundwater stewardship. Many kids even got to see firsthand what a well drilling rig looked like, and were fascinated by the process of tapping the resource that brought water to their homes. Wayne was instrumental in created “Wally and Wanda Water” water drop costumes that made the rounds at parades, fairs, festivals and home shows throughout Nebraska. He and his wife, Jean, even donned those costumes from time to time, bringing another element of fun to learning about groundwater to both kids and their parents.

Wayne’s hometown of Trenton, Nebraska also became a Groundwater Guardian thanks to, you guessed it, Wayne’s leadership. He wanted the broader community to know about the water they drank and that its protection was up to them. He spoke at meetings and events, pulled a float in area parades promoting the Groundwater Guardian team and groundwater, championed wellhead protection efforts, and volunteered significant time and expertise to other Groundwater Foundation educational programs.

Wayne Madsen receives the
Kremer Award in 2000
Wayne was a well-respected groundwater professional – he served on the Nebraska Well Drillers Association Board of Directors as its President and chaired the Public Affairs Committees. He worked with the Nebraska Legislature to adopt water well licensing laws, state water well construction standards, and continuing education requirements for water well professionals. His fellow groundwater professionals even named an award after him – the Wayne Madsen Award for Community Service.

The vision Wayne had for the future water professionals is here. You can follow his example for community engagement and education by getting involved with the Groundwater Foundation. Supporting the Foundation’s youth education and community action programs will help create a bright future for groundwater.

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