Local News

Owner Of Pioneers Inn In Gilead Hopes To Reopen

By Gordon Hopkins
A local, family-owned eatery and long-time landmark in Gilead is struggling to recover after a storm nearly put them out of business.
A storm late Friday night, August 25th, brought a break after a week of triple-digit temperatures in southeast Nebraska. Unfortunately, the storm also brought rains, hail and wind gusts ranged from 68 miles per hour.
Damage was reported around Jefferson County and the area. The most obvious damage was the roof of Pioneer’s Inn, which was almost completely torn off and leaving the interior flooded.
FJN recently spoke to the owner, Karen Keilwitz, who remains optimistic that Pioneer’s Inn can reopen, “I am still optimistic, yes.”
At one point, she considered closing up but community reaction convinced her otherwise, “Judging by all the support and all the positive comments we have heard, people would like that.”
However, she also acknowledges that it will take a lot of work and a lot of money, “We have insurance on the contents but not on the building, itself.”
She is attempting to get bids from roofers but many are tied up with work resulting from a prior hail storm that damaged countless roofs throughout the county and region.
In the meantime, there is plenty of other work to do. Keilwitz said, “Right now we are cleaning out the bar so that when we do get bids on the roof, we won’t have to do it later on.”
The interior of the building is already showing improvement. Keilwitz noted that in the first few days, people would come over for coffee and then grab a mop or cloth and start helping with the cleanup.
While the help is needed, there is still the matter of money and Keilwitz admits she will not be able to do it by herself. To that end, she set up a bank account with Union Bank in Fairbury to collect donations. It is important that any donations be made in the name of Karen Keilwitz and not Pioneers Inn, as that is how the account was set up.
Fundraisers are already in the works. The Lazy Horse Gravel Grind puts on the Nebransas Gravel Grind that happens every year in October. It’s normally a free group ride around 65 miles that starts in Diller, however this year, it will start and stop at Gilead at The Pioneers Inn, with a minimum cash donation to ride of $25. Held on September 24 and all money made will go directly to Pioneers Inn to help pay for a new roof. A GoFundMe page was also created for those who cannot ride but still wish to donate.
Keilwitz said, “I would like to thank everybody for their donations and their support and their prayers.”
For the time being, Pioneer’s Inn will be operating out of the Gilead Town Hall, offering rolls and coffee in the morning starting at 8 a.m. and serving a noon special for donations from 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. All proceeds will go to fund the new roof.
If you have any questions or are interested in donating, please call (402) 768-8446.


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