Leo L. Mellam
Laural D. Mellam
The Mellam Family Foundation is a private foundation established in 1987 by Laural D. Mellam (1905-1993) in memory of her late husband, Leo L. Mellam (1906-1985). Mr. Mellam was the founder of Flexi-Van Corporation. In the transportation industry, he is widely known as the "father of containerization", having developed the model for containerized freight transportation now in use throughout the world. While successful in his business endeavors, Mr. Mellam never forgot his pioneer roots and rural upbringing in Broken Bow, Nebraska. He traveled home often to be with his ailing mother, Jennie Melham. It was during these visits that the Mellams began to understand the challenges of providing modern medical care in rural America. After the death of Jennie Melham in 1970, Mr. and Mrs. Mellam began working with the community of Broken Bow to establish the Jennie M. Melham Memorial Medical Center on the site of the family farm. Since its opening in 1972, the Medical Center has continuously expanded its facilities and the services it offers, and now serves as a model center for other rural communities. The Foundation has continued the Mellam tradition of philanthropic activities, and expanded its areas of interest beyond providing rural medicine to include the following areas:
- medical and scientific research
- social service programs
- the environment
The Mellams held dear the everyday principles by which the first settlers lived their lives: loyalty and devotion to family, charity and brotherhood with our neighbors, and service to our community. These are the principles that continue to guide the Foundation today.