Nebraska State Treasurer Don Stenberg delivered a check for $8,284 today to the Friends of Buffalo Bill, Inc., a non-profit organization of volunteers that was recently reorganized to resume its efforts “to preserve and perpetuate the memory of William F. Cody.”
The money Treasurer Stenberg delivered came from the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division. It was from a matured certificate of deposit that had been turned over to the state by Wells Fargo Bank in 2012. Matured CDs are among the most common forms of unclaimed property handled by the State Treasurer’s Office.
“We are happy to present this check today to the Friends of Buffalo Bill so that the group can use the money to support its mission and continue its important work,” Treasurer Stenberg said at a news conference at the Residence at Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park in North Platte.
“Credit should go to the organization’s president Judy Herbst Brown for her perseverance and for her commitment to preserving the memory of William F. Cody and to returning many of his possessions to his former residence at what is now Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park,” Stenberg said.
Brown was active in the Friends of Buffalo Bill from 1978 to 1996. When she learned of the matured CD waiting for the group in the Unclaimed Property Division, she discovered the Friends group had disbanded because of inactivity, the long-time president had died, and she was, perhaps, one of the few surviving members of the original group. She reorganized the group through the Secretary of State’s office, set about to recruit new members, and provided the necessary documents to claim the matured CD for the group.
The reorganized group now has 25 members and plans to meet regularly in 2014. Officers in addition to Brown are Ruth Froman of North Platte, secretary, and Mary Tanner of Hershey, treasurer.
“Friends raised that money for the Ranch, and to the Ranch I intended it to go,” Brown said.
Brown thanked members of Corral of Westerners and the Lincoln County Historical Society, as well as friends who are teachers and artists, for supporting her efforts. She said no decision had been made for how the money would be used, but added that a climate-controlled visitors’ center where the public could view artifacts related to Buffalo Bill is a dream of some supporters.
“Returning unclaimed property to rightful owners is one of my favorite duties as the State Treasurer,” Stenberg said. “It is rewarding regardless of the sum of money involved, all the way from the check for more than $8,000 that I am delivering today here in North Platte to the checks for less than $100 that we return every day to people all across Nebraska.”
In 2013, the Treasurer’s Office returned more than $11.26 million to rightful owners. That represents a total of 18,273 claims. The average claim is $616.
Treasurer Stenberg suggested residents check regularly for money owed to them or their businesses or organizations. He said the Unclaimed Property Division database includes more than $125 million of property for more than 350,000 Nebraskans, former Nebraskans, and heirs. New properties are continually added, he said. A list of all the new properties added in 2013 will be published in March and April in the North Platte Telegraph, the McCook Gazette, and 14 other daily newspapers in the state.
“Nebraskans have a one in five chance of finding property that belongs to them,” he said. “Given those statistics, an important part of our work is outreach, making sure Nebraskans know about the state’s unclaimed property program and how to search for property for themselves, their friends and relatives, and their businesses and organizations,” he said.
“Events like today’s news conference are ideal opportunities for us to make our program better known. And outreach activities like our booth at the Nebraska State Fair allow my staff to make personal contact with Nebraskans, to help them search our records, to answer their questions, and to provide information about how to file claims, all at no charge,” Stenberg said. “The search is well worth the time and effort. Many people are surprised at what they find and are grateful for the service.”
Other ways to search for unclaimed property:
Facts about unclaimed property: