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“Let us do our jobs”

Medical Freedom Rally in North Platte Saturday
Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 2:12 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Navigating a pandemic has evolved since it first came on the scene nearly two years ago. Now, as the landscape is changing, so too are the efforts to contain COVID-19. Around the world different maneuvers have had different results. We are now seeing mandates being rolled out across America, first by private companies, and now by the United States Government.

The following quote is taken from the White House’s official website, and it outlines one portion of a mandate issued by the Biden Administration. This mandate (concerning any company doing business with the federal government) is effective now, and the focus of this story is how it is affecting North Platte’s leading industry, the Union Pacific Railroad (U.P.R.R.), and how many employees of the railroad are responding.

Holding a flag west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding a flag west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)

“Building on the President’s announcement in July to strengthen safety requirements for unvaccinated federal workers, the President has signed an Executive Order to take those actions a step further and require all federal executive branch workers to be vaccinated. The President also signed an Executive Order directing that this standard be extended to employees of contractors that do business with the federal government. As part of this effort, the Department of Defense, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Indian Health Service, and the National Institute of Health will complete implementation of their previously announced vaccination requirements that cover 2.5 million people.”

To see more on this mandate and others, visit the White House’s website at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan/

On Saturday leaders and potential future leaders joined the community (many of them, employees of the U.P.R.R) in a rally for “Medical Freedom,” and thusly called “Medical Freedom Rally.” While other groups are already being mandated similarly, the Union Pacific Railroad employees constitute a very large population of the workforce in North Platte, and as a group, they are speaking out for their freedoms as Americans.

Many stories were shared, and emotions too during the rally with at least 200 people attending throughout the day from noon to 4 p.m. on the Lincoln County Courthouse lawn. One man sharing how his grandfather watched during wartime, enemy soldiers stabbing his fellow Americans on the battlefield to ensure they were dead, and another man saying he fought for America for the very freedoms he is now on American soil fighting for, saying he watched as the twin towers fell, and knew we were fighting an enemy from overseas. He says he is heartbroken that he is now fighting his own government to decide if he should or should not get a vaccine that is still fundamentally in the experimental stage.

A petition at the Medical Freedom Rally
A petition at the Medical Freedom Rally(Melanie Standiford)
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)
Holding a sign west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding a sign west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding signs west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)
Holding a flag west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.
Holding a flag west of Lincoln County Courthouse in North Platte for Medical Freedom rally.(Melanie Standiford)

Fourtner said a lot more than that. In fact, she talked to the crowd, saying “make a big noise,” for hours Saturday. She says this is her town, her family, and her community, and if no one else will speak up for them, she will. She is upset with current legislation and the Governor of Nebraska, asking for their resignation if they do not do what they promised those who elected them they would do, and that is to “treat their constituents like Americans.”

Speaking to the crowd Saturday, Senator Groene, telling them that the “truth would overcome.”

Senator Groene telling the crowd that a group of state senators is going forward with a letter to request a special session. Telling them, likely they won’t get the backing of 33, saying, “there are enough left-wing socialists in the legislature to probably not sign it.”

“We hope our efforts will encourage the governor to be brave and call a session with his own emergency powers with the backing of 31 or 32 senators if we don’t get 33. But at least you will know who supports liberty and which supports the government establishment. Because to not call that session, I find in the legislature there are too many and I find in government that there are too many establishment elected officials. The representation stops at the city council, stops at the commissioners, stops and the school board - they forget about the individual. I do not. When I myself contacted COVID, I let the public know. Contrary to the national press, over 99.7 percent of Americans have the same outcome as I had. And I believe in science. I believe the proven fact is that natural immunity is the best defense against future infections. I was scorned by the cowards, derided by the press, and attacked on the internet by a liberal state senator. I’d like to quote Ernest Hemmingway, ‘A coward dies a thousand deaths, a brave man only once.” That is true. A coward worries about dying every day. I don’t. No one should have to fear reprisals when they exercise their sovereign human rights to refuse medical treatment. No one should be denied the opportunity to pursue an occupation to provide for their family and themselves. I say, let freedom ring.”

Senator Mike Groene, District 42 (R)

Here is a statement from the Office of Governor Pete Ricketts:

More than once, Governor Ricketts has spoken out against the mandates. Seeing him recently defending Nebraska and her policies on-air on Fox News with Chris Wallace. And when people at the rally spoke out against the Governor, fearing that he has “forgotten them,” Senator Groene encouraged them to “give him a chance,” saying “he is a good man.” Finally saying the crowd would know more about the Governor’s intentions a week from the rally. The organizer of the rally saying she wants his resignation if he does not support Nebraskans as he was “elected to do,” and “elected by rural Nebraskans.”

Also speaking at the rally, Legislative Candidate for District 42 Chris Bruns, saying federal overreach is the crux of the issue.

Fourtner said the rally Saturday helped her know she is not alone in her quest to have her voice heard. She says she feels like her voice was heard, but more needs to be done.

Railroad employees are speaking out, saying they are being offered an incentive to get the vaccine. It was “swag,” but now varies between $300 or vacation time, however, they say they must sign to get the bonus, and in the fine print essentially “releasing the railroad from any future lawsuits for mandating the vaccine.” This has not been confirmed by News 2.

Here’s more on this story. This is a developing story.

https://www.knopnews2.com/2021/10/15/up-railroad-employees-plan-participate-rally-against-vaccine-mandate/

Links to related stories from different sources.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/union-pacific-unions-spar-over-vaccine-mandate-rollout/amp

https://www.ketv.com/amp/article/union-pacific-fights-labor-groups-in-federal-court-over-covid-19-vaccine-mandate/37995193

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