From serving as an airfield during World War II to now playing an instrumental role in the community’s economy, the Norfolk Regional Airport Authority has done it all.

Locals and pilots from other areas gathered at the Karl Stefan Memorial Airfield in Norfolk on Sunday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Norfolk Regional Airport.

Those who came to the celebration could enjoy some breakfast and learn about the history of the airport, which spans all the way back to the early 1900s with a man named Karl Stefan, who is an icon in the city of Norfolk and the State of Nebraska.

"He lobbied for funds to build this airport right at the time of the war," Terri Wachter, Manager of the Norfolk Regional Airport Authority, said. "He could see the potential for having an airport in this area and he was instrumental in getting our airport built."

The airfield was originally built to be a relief base for Omaha airports during World War II, but since then it has grown to be a hub for local pilots, businesses, and corporations- making it extremely important when it comes to Norfolk’s economy.

Grayson Frohberg, a volunteer at the airport, explains that many private businesses who serve Norfolk's community regularly fly in and out of the airport.

"It's just something really special for northeast Nebraska to have," Grayson said.

Looking back on the past 75 years, it is easy to see how far the airport has come since it was established in 1944. Runways, terminals, and even a weather station are just a few of the improvements that have been added, but officials are hoping the airport will continue to grow for future generations.

"We would certainly like to have some more hangars," Wachter said. "General aviation seems to be in demand."

She explains that safety precautions and screening have slowed transport processes, which is why she believes businesses will resort to smaller aircraft in the future.