Cogwheel Archive

Rotary Cogwheel | 06.19.2014

June 16, 2014

Today: Patrick Nelson, Tee Up for the Troops, (Hoschouer)

Birthdays: David Koenig (6/21)

Next Week: Vicki Langer, Classification (Williams)

Last Week:

Beth Gilligan, one of our early in-bound exchange students, provided powerful testimony to the benefit of youth exchange.

She came to Northfield in 1975 from her home in Australia. She exchanged Sidney’s 95 degree summer heat for Minnesota’s minus 8, and her teeth are still chattering. She said her exchange experience fundamentally changed her life.

Duane and Marie Benson, Jim and Shirley Herreid, Bill and Nancy Carlson and Norma and Osmund Ause were host families. She said she learned about service above self by observing members of our Rotary Club. She was introduced to different cultures and different religions. She was counseled to skip a trip to Disney World for a church service trip to Mexico. It was that experience that persuaded her to become a teacher.

“Your best gift to me,” she said, “is you growing and expanding the youth exchange program.”

Beth went on to have a distinguished career in education. She has spent the last five years breathing life into an underperforming Catholic school in Hobart, Tasmania. As its first lay and first female principal, she has been attempting to raise the bar for the 950 students in grades K through 10, emphasizing academic rigor, personal and social responsibility and personal empowerment. She stresses that achievement requires ambition and action. It’s been an uphill climb, but Beth said this experience has taught her about resilience.

She was here in 2007 for a visit and said this trip has been on her “bucket list.” She is in the United States on a renewal leave and is attending several educational workshops.


It’s called Hatton Hair, and Duane Benson has it. It’s that perfectly-styled look of casual elegance born of years leaning into the northwest winds that perpetually sweep through Hatton, North Dakota.

Yes, Duane is a son of North Dakota’s Red River Valley. He grew up to become a solid Northfield citizen of 48 years and counting. He went to country school through eighth grade — he remembers it fondly as a decade of happiness — and graduated from Hatton High School in 1957.

After two years in the U.S. Army, he went to the Mortuary Science program at the University of Minnesota. He finished in 1964, married Marie in 1965 and moved to Northfield in 1966. First, he owned a mortuary on the corner of Woodley and Division and the moved his operations to Fourth and Washington when he purchased the Anderson Funeral Home. Andy Langehough joined him in 2001 and Duane continues to help him out as he can.

Farewell, Not Goodbye

It was our last meal together with our exchange students — Gunho, Yoshino and Lucas. They briefly reflected on their time in Northfield and expressed their profound gratitude for our hospitalityand the memories they have made here.

Last Week’s Guests: Love Odetola (Estenson), Marie Benson and Grace Ann Wilkinson (Benson)

Scholarship Enhancement: The Richardson who doesn’t drive the cool car.


  • The Northfield Rotary Y matching grant campaign has already raised more than $25,000. We have committed a $25,000 match to the Y capital campaign to be used to raise an additional $50,000 from the community during June. Rotary members, families, friends and potential donors are invited to an invitation-only tour of the building today at 3:30 p.m. Let Virginia Kaczmarek know you are coming. Also look for a mailing from the Y with information about the capital campaign. We are encouraged to pass it on to friends and family.
  • Our thoughts and prayers are with Jim Blaha. His mother passed away last week.
  • Vicki Dilley noted that this is the 45th anniversary of our Youth Exchange Program. We celebrated with cake.
  • President Prichard announced he will soon be shuttering his law practice and going to work for the Barnabas Foundation in estate planning.
  • Rick Estenson extended an standing invitation to view the World Cup soccer matches on the big screen at his event center. Come as you can.

Coming Up

July 3 — There is a meeting, TBA

July 10 — Bill Nelson, Nelson Dairy Consultants (Madigan)

July 17 — Randy Peterson, Target Regional Engineer (Madigan)