BROOM MAN LTD
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 8, 2019
CONTACT: Marc Kraft, President
BROOM MAN LTD
Sculpting Work Begins
OMAHA, Neb., August 8, 2019 – Leaders of a non-profit organization seeking to honor the late Rev. Livingston Wills, commonly known as the "Broom Man," announced Wednesday that they have raised one-third of the funds needed to complete the project and have commissioned Omaha artist John Lajba to create a life-size sculpture of Wills.
Wills, who was blind, was well known in the Omaha community for walking through business districts and neighborhoods selling straw brooms. "He was always pleasant and his hard work and kindness inspired those he met," said Marc Kraft, President for Broom Man LTD, the organization sponsoring the project. "We believe it is important to keep the memory of Rev. Wills alive for future generations."
Wills was an ordained minister, but his church congregation was small so he supplemented his income through broom sales, walking with brooms slung over his shoulder in all types of weather, often as much as 10 miles a day.
Project sculptor Lajba has several other examples of sculpture in public places, but is perhaps best known for his "Road to Omaha" sculpture at the entry of the TD Ameritrade Park baseball stadium. Photos of organizers signing the contract with Lajba were posted recently on the "Broom Man" Facebook page, which has over 8,000 followers, and the post already has over 1,500 interactions.
The sculpture will be placed at a location yet to be determined. The total estimated cost of the project is $100,000 to $120,000.
Persons can donate to the project by sending contributions to either of the following:
Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation – The Broom Man Project – PO Box 8252 – Omaha, NE 68102
or through www.GoFundMe.com/TheBroomMan
Marc Kraft – email@example.com
The purpose of this effort is to raise funds to create a Bronze Sculpture to keep the memory alive of an Omaha Icon, The Reverend Livingston Wills - known to many as The Broom Man.
The project was launched on October 5th, 2016 at a press conference held at the Douglas County Courthouse in down town Omaha. The goal of the project is to raise $100,000 to fund a life size bronze sculpture of “The Broom Man” designed and cast by a local artist, John Lajba.
The "Rev", as people affectionately called him, passed away in 2008. He was 91 years old and though legally blind, sold brooms door to door until he was 88 years old. Over the years the Broom Man became part of the fabric of our community with every neighborhood claiming him as one of their own.
The Reverend was a simple man, had a congregation, and was we'll educated. We have a grandson and a great grandson on our committee. Our committee discussed approaching larger donors but decided since the "Rev" was a man of the community, we would like to see this funded by the community. With the GoFundMe donations combined with those sent directly to our fiscal agent, Downtown Omaha Inc. Foundation, so far we have raised over $40,000
in contributions ranging from $2.00 and $5,000.00 each.
One of the Reverend's favorite scripture passages was the following found in Psalms 133:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!
"The hearts of the people of Omaha were for him," said Bernadine Jefferson, a friend of about 50 years. "I think a lot of people felt like he was part of their family. He was joyful and he had a good memory."
...Jefferson said Wills lived his life as God had instructed: "Love thy neighbor as thyself. Love your enemies, do good to them who hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them who despitefully use you."
From the Omaha, NE. "World-Herald" Newspaper:
'Do you need a good broom?': Blind broom peddler dies at 91
BY JANE PALMER
WORLD-HERALD STAFF WRITERhttp://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=29359825