The Broom Man Project
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 WRITER
Sculptor begins work!