Westside Board of Education Candidate, Former Teacher Donates Sporting Equipment to Omaha Police Department


Image via Omaha Police Department Southeast Captain Kathy Gonzalez's Twitter

Westside Board of Education Candidate John Brian alongside Omaha Police Officers display the sporting good items collected and donated to Omaha Police Department’s PACE organization.

While self-isolating at home due to COVID-19, many children and young students have an excess of time on their hands. Some students have various games, art supplies, and sporting equipment at home to help them stay busy, however, others are not as fortunate. John Brian, former Westside Social Studies instructor and former head coach of boys varsity soccer, and now Westside Board of Education candidate, witnessed this situation first-hand and said that he knew he wanted to help. 

“I came home and saw two kids down the street kicking a can,” Brian said. “I asked them if they would like a soccer ball to kick instead and they said yes. I have a lot of old training equipment from coaching so I kicked a ball to them.”

Brian said that he assumed there were other children in need, so he posted his concerns on social media, determined to help the community.

“I thought that perhaps there were other kids that might need some sports equipment so I  posted on my Facebook page and Nextdoor app,” Brian said.

Brian was an instructor and coach at Westside High School for 20 years, forming many connections within Westside during that time. Brian said that he was pleased by the amount of donations that came from former Westside students in response to his social media posts. 

“People offered used equipment,” Brian said.  “It was overwhelming how many [of my] former students donated.”

Brian said that the donated equipment went to several places and that Westside High School Resource Officer Jeff Kilgore assisted in helping plan the donation of sporting equipment to the Omaha Police Department.

“Some of the equipment went to some local neighborhood kids and the rest I gave to the PACE organization at the Omaha Police Department,” Brian said. “Officer Kilgore organized my drop off to them.” 

Brian said that he would like to acknowledge Westside alumnus, Minor League Baseball pitcher and owner of Elkhorn Training Camp Max Fearnow as well as the Nemecek Family for their generous donations of sporting equipment.