Class of 1944
Hall of Honor 2001
Following graduation from Grand Island Senior High in 1944, Wendell Wood served in the U.S. Navy until 1946. He began working for the Union Pacific Railroad after the service and worked as a switchman until 1949. His next job was with the Northwestern Public Service Co. in Grand Island. He was transferred to North Platte in 1951 and worked for NWPS until 1960. Mr. Wood entered private business in 1965 and founded W.W. Wood, Inc. He owned and operated this business until 1980.
In 1999, Mr. Wood was inducted into the North Platte Area Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame. He was dubbed “the godfather of civic projects.” Mr. Wood has been involved in a number of civic organizations and ventures. In the mid-1960’s he helped establish the North Platte Junior College. He was instrumental in a finance campaign that resulted in the evolution of the junior college into the Mid-Plains Community Area College. In 1969, Mr. Wood was named chairperson of a community effort to consolidate two small hospitals in North Platte. Following a $1.2 million campaign, a new community hospital was opened in 1975. He served on the hospital board until 1979, overseeing the merger of the two hospital staffs, construction of the new hospital and the development of a new regional medical center. Mr. Woods has also served for 11 years on the Nebraska Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education. He was first appointed to this post by a Republican governor and later reappointed by a Democratic governor. He has served on the Board of Directors of Northwestern Public Service, the boards of Western Nebraska National Bank and United Nebraska Bank, and was president of the North Platte Chamber of Commerce, North Platte Jaycees, and North Platte Rotary. He is a past district chairman of the Buffalo Bill District of Boy Scouts and was a founding member of the board of the Mid-Nebraska Community Foundation.
Mr. Wood was named by the Jaycees of North Platte as the Outstanding Young Man of the Year in 1954, and Nebraska’s Outstanding Young Man in 1961. He received the North Platte Jaycees “Boss of the Year” award in 1961. In 1980, Mr. Wood received the City of North Platte Cody Scout Award.