Man lost during March flooding honored as Husker Hero

LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - For the Wilke family, when they learned James was asked to help during the Columbus Flooding, it wasn't surprising. Unfortunately that would be the last time they would see this father and husband. Now, the state remembers him as a hero months after his passing.

During half time at Friday's Husker game against Iowa, two families from either side of the border took the field at Memorial Stadium.

On the Iowa side, a Dubuque nurse was voted a hero after performing first aid and saving a man's life at a soccer tournament.

Representing the Nebraska side, the Wilke family, out of Columbus. James Wilke was lost this spring after the flooding. He was asked to help with recovery and while he was out on a bridge it collapsed and he died. His wife Rachel said helping is just what he did.

"I'm just so proud that the state of Nebraska thought what he did was so heroic, because, really, this is just something he would have done," Rachel said. "Jump in the tractor and help people."

Rachel said it's an honor to see a whole state remember her husband as a hero. She said James just did what he had to do to help others.