By Viking Voice Reporter Avneet Purewal
Maurice Nyberg is looked up to as a role model in the Kingsburg community. He has dedicated countless hours with the goal to help others, especially young students.
Nyberg graduated from KHS in 1943, and still continues to stay involved with not only the Kingsburg community, but also KHS. Even now at the age of 92, he continues to advise Key Club and Kiwanis in Kingsburg alongside his wife Pauline Nyberg.
World War II began in Nyberg’s junior year of high school. He knew he’d be drafted, so he made the decision to enlist in the navy. He had to overcome many hardships while serving his country during such a dangerous time.
The first ship that Nyberg was assigned to was named the U.S.S. Jenkins which was hit by artillery from a shore battery. Six soldiers were killed, all on his first operation.
Another major obstacle he faced near the end of the war occured when his unit was bombarded and hit a mine. “We would’ve sunk but the sandbar barely saved us. We had to wait until we were discovered and then a bigger ship came to rescue us,” Nyberg explained.
After the atomic bombs were dropped over Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Nyberg and his crew knew that the war was almost over. He served the rest of his time serving with a decommissioning team in San Diego until he was discharged in 1946.
Although he served as a safety consultant with State Compensation Insurance Fund after the navy, Nyberg impacts the community in many other ways. He’s been a big part of the Orchard Church, serving as the choir director, and helping out whenever and wherever he’s needed. He advises KHS’ Key Club (a volunteering club) and he is also a member of Kiwanis, a service club that empowers people to fundraise and partake in local service projects to serve the needs of children. He has also served as the president for the Kingsburg chapter.
Kiwanis’ motto is “Serving the children of the world,” which Nyberg lives by. With Kiwanis, he has helped with countless projects, whether on a national or local level. Some of the bigger projects include getting iodized salt to countries that were lacking iodine, which can cause mental retardation. He has also helped in getting tetanus shots to women in developing countries who didn’t have access to sterile equipment for child birth.
Local projects Nyberg has led mostly involve fundraising so that Kiwanis can annually give scholarships to involved seniors. Recently to fundraise, he has organized a pancake dinner, and silent auction which generates a lot of scholarship money.
Nyberg has lived in Kingsburg all of his life. His grandparents moved to Kingsburg from Sweden. He has Swedish parents, who raised Nyberg and his two older brothers. He now has three children, nine grandchildren, and 14 great grandchildren who continuously bring joy into his life.
Another hardship Nyberg went through is when his first wife, Lorraine Nyberg was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a long, hard-fought battle, but lost when she was 67 years old.
Nyberg met his current wife, Pauline, through Kiwanis. They share similar passions and spend much of their life helping the community. “If it wasn’t for Kiwanis, our paths would’ve never crossed,” Nyberg added.
The Nyberg’s really love what they do. “I enjoy being involved in community beneficial activities and serving the community. It’s such a worthwhile feeling helping children of the world,” marveled Nyberg.
Nyberg is also driven to help high school students which is why he has dedicated so much time to Key Club.
“Study hard and find activities that will serve your community. Don’t be so involved in things that would take away from you being active in your community because it really is worthwhile,” advised Nyberg.
Nyberg is an inspiration to young and old. He is a great role model, who has given so much to the Kingsburg community making him so deserving of this month’s Viking Valor award.