The Alzheimer’s Association to Honor Caregivers at Annual Gala in Lincoln, NE


The Alzheimer’s Association is proud to announce that six caregivers will be honored for their role in caring for their loved ones at their annual Gala, which is set for Saturday, February 22 at the Cornhusker Hotel.  The Alzheimer’s Association solicited nominees from healthcare professionals in an effort to give back to the families that have been affected by Alzheimer’s.  The honorees are Darwin Hanneman, Sonya Poppert, Taylor Woullard, Mrs. Harry Large, and Carol and Steve Speicher.

Darwin Hanneman is currently caring for his wife who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. He is actively involved with his wife’s care, and dedicated to finding the resources and tools necessary to continue to care for her at home.  Darwin is so positive and always willing to help new members of his support group.

Sonya Poppert is currently caring for her mother, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, 24/7 in her home in Lincoln.  She also has three boys and a loving husband who reside in the home.  Maria, who is a legal resident, has no financial assets or insurance. Upon arriving in Nebraska, Sonya has been fighting the struggles of being a full time caregiver and also trying to financially support her mother without healthcare benefits or insurance due to NE immigration laws.  Sonya is currently working with Aging Partners and Hospice Community Care’s Dementia Specialist to find the needed support to care for her mother.

Taylor Woullard, 22, is the daughter of Mary Woullard, 55, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  Mary previously worked at Milder Manor (now Sumner Place) for 22 years and started having difficulties which led to her diagnosis.   As a result, Mary is not able to work and needs 24/7 care for her safety.  Taylor is now the caregiver for her mother, in addition to being the mother of small children who also reside in an apartment that houses this family of five.

Mrs. Harry Large was the caregiver for her husband for many years.  She attends nearly all related activities and participates in a Caregiver Support Group monthly.  Her daughter and the rest of the family attend monthly family gatherings and are also active in fundraisers and events.  Arlene is an “unofficial” ambassador for The Independence House and always takes steps to encourage new residents and their families to participate. She is a caregiver to all of the residents and willing to help with any request that is made of her. (Note: Harry lost his battle with Alzheimer’s the day after his wife was selected.)

Carol and Steve Speicher have not missed an outing or family gathering since mother, Kathleen Speicher, came to live at Independence House at Northview.  They come every morning with a cup of “good coffee” and sit in while current events are discussed.  They have volunteered to go on outings to several sites around Lincoln and do not hesitate to jump in and help as the need arises.

The public is invited to show support for their fight by helping to sponsor these individuals’ admission to the Gala, at $100 per person. To sponsor an honoree, please contact the Alzheimer’s Association by email to, or by calling the office at (402) 420-2540. Gifts to the Alzheimer’s Association are tax-deductible. In 2013, 15.4 million family and friends provided 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care to those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias — care valued at $216.4 billion.

The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support and research.  Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.  For more information about The Alzheimer’s Association, please visit their website at