The newest Grand Marshals of the Truman Days Parade are Truman denizens Monte and Shirley Rohman, both active supporters of multiple area committees and organizations.
BY KATE CROWLEY ROSENBERG
Monte and Shirley Rohman, this year’s Truman Days Grand Marshalls, are among several great Truman leaders preparing to take a bow. Monte will retire in December after 36 years as City Clerk/Treasurer, and Shirley will retire in January as the administrative assistant from the Truman School District after 28 years.
It was a welcomed honor for the two denizens of the community. “I was very honored and humbled. There’s a lot of eligible candidates,” Monte said. “There’s a lot of people in this community that deserve it,” Shirley added.
While Shirley (Bosshart) grew up in Truman, Monte graduated from Trimont High School and earned his 2-year accounting degree at the Mankato Commercial College. He later spent three summers attaining his Certified Municipal Clerk (CMC) certification. “I’m a numbers guy,” he said. “My focus has always been in accounting, which has been very helpful for the city budget and city accounting - making sure that we stay financially stable.”
Monte has enjoyed his tenure serving the people of the community and managing its challenges. “Truman has been really good to me. I’ve enjoyed working here. We’re always watching the infrastructure of the community. We built a waste water plant and water tower and did a lot of storm water improvements over the years. Those are some of the basic services that people don’t see that they need, but we are constantly watching the public infrastructure and providing services,” Monte said.
“Most communities when you have a lot of larger rains you’ll have the issues that every town has. We’ve addressed a huge amount of that with our three-phase storm water project starting in 2009 and finishing in 2015. All our water leaves on the southeast part of town. We had to get the south end of town done first. We’ve made great strides in our storm water system. Now as we replace streets going north into town, we can take care of some of the smaller problems. We had to get a trunk system built first to handle the water. Before, we had a very small outlet and an 18-inch pipe going out of town and now we have a huge ditch and a 60-inch outfall pipe and a 42-inch pipe trunk system. So we’ve got the main system set up, but you can’t replace all the streets at one time.”
“He likes to see a project from start to finish,” Shirley said. As Monte retires, it will be up to his successors over the next 30 years to enlarge the storm water pipes to hook into the new system throughout the rest of the town as they replace streets to the tune of $400,000 a block - adding in water, sewer and storm sewer upgrades in the process.
“It all comes with time,” Monte said. “And money.”
It also requires the willingness of experts to share their skills with the community.
“Everybody has their own niche” Shirley said. Hers has been serving the children of the community.
Shirley graduated from Truman High School, and when their youngest was in kindergarten, she began working as a paraprofessional with the school district. She has been a familiar face to nearly all of the students. After 10 years as a para, she worked for Truman Farmers Elevator and Watonwan Farm Service for five years. But as the school secretary prepared to retire, Shirley was asked to interview for her position. Now, eighteen years later, she has seen an entire generation grow up in the Truman school district.
“When I worked at school I missed the adult conversation. When I worked at the elevator I missed the kids. You’ve gotta balance it out,” she said, adding that her choice to remain with the district all of these years was to stay in touch with the children of the community.
“I just enjoy kids,” she said. “If they’re upset during the day it’s not necessarily what happened at school it may be from what they brought from home to school.”
Shirley’s talents have been drafted outside of school, as well.
“One year they got ball uniforms and they were horrible. The fans from the other team ridiculed and teased. The boys came to two of us mothers. There were 40 uniforms. All these kids came on a Thursday night. ‘We will do whatever it takes. We will cook, we will clean your house if you fix these uniforms before Monday’,” she recounted.
“I can remember they were raglan sleeves and I took five and a half inches off the front and two and a half inches off the back. So you had to rip them all apart, take the neckline off, bring them all back up, and then sew them all back together,” she said. The repair was a success and the players were grateful. “The kids just appreciate anything.”
Shirley said the school involves the kids in volunteer work, as well. “This week we’re cleaning up the outside trimming bushes; we’re going to dig flower tonight. The kids are out there trimming that all up.”
Volunteerism has been important to both of the Rohmans, and they have instilled those values in their children and others whenever possible. “When something comes up you just do it,” Shirley said. “Family fun nights, concessions stands. Whatever needs to be done in town.”
He has been involved in the Truman Development Corporation for 35 years, as well as other community groups including the Jaycees and the Truman Days Committee, offering his accounting expertise wherever it was needed. He was a trustee at their church, St. Katherine’s, and Shirley was an officer in their ladies’ groups.
One of the activities dearest to his heart has been youth ball. Monte has been active in the baseball and softball association for 20 years, and has been its charitable gambling manager throughout that time.
“The baseball/softball association has a charitable license with the state of Minnesota. The pull tabs down at the bar - that’s the revenue source for our baseball/softball program for our community. It helps fund renovations at the baseball and softball fields. It helps the school out immensely by taking care of the facilities and buying uniforms for the kids.” he said. “I tell you what, without them we would not have state-of-the-art baseball diamonds. The school just can’t put that much money into it.”
The charitable gambling has a side benefit, as well. “We’re getting some Granada kids and Fairmont kids over here during the summer to play ball. They don’t have to buy uniforms,” he said. Those additional players sometimes translate into additional students for the school through open enrollment.
His work with the charitable gambling has extended to the Truman Days efforts, as well. “For the last 10-12 years we’ve done a raffle for the Truman Days. We really appreciate the people who support the raffle for the Truman Days because that pays for a lot of the expenses,” Monte said.
Going forward, the Rohmans plan to spend more time at the activies of their 10 grandchildren; five of whom are in Welcome (son Brooks Rohman), three in St. Peter (daughter Megan Austin) and two in Bloomington (son Paige Rohman).
“We just want to do a little bit of travel,” Monte said. Visits to family members in California and Colorado are on the agenda, as are bandconcerts and other events important to their grandchildren. But Truman will always be their touchstone.
“Truman really is ‘a great place to call home’,” Monte said.
Equine Therapist Kallemeyn Uses Oils, Massage and PEMF Therapy
BY KATE CROWLEY ROSENBERG
Most days, Alissa Kallemeyn of Lewisville can be seen behind the wheel of a Freightliner hauling feed for LB Pork. In the evenings, she pursues her passion: equine massage therapy.
Kallemeyn, 20, is the owner of Keep’em Running, an equine massage therapy practice that provides pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy and Raindrop essential oil treatments.
She began working with horses at a young age when her parents gave her a pony. “She was a registered miniature pony. I still have her. I got her when she was 2 and now she’s 14.” They started in halter classes, but graduated to driving. “I did a lot of driving with her. She still drives and I’ve had two foals out of her. She has a foal on her right now. Born yesterday. Just a little feller.”
Eventually, she acquired a horse, which was when she was inspired to take up massage as a career. Kallemeyn competed in Western Saddle Clubs Association (WSCA) games and cattle work events, and her horse needed some extra care.
“My horse was fairly underweight and hadn’t had much attention when I got him. He was going to start hurting and breaking down a little faster than normal because of the poor nutrition he’d had. So I basically wanted something extra for him. And then he started having a little bit of muscle issues, so that’s where the oils came in. I started looking at something different for that instead of filling him full of drugs to mask the pain. I wanted to heal it instead of cover it up. So I started with massage in 11th grade,” she said. “
Kallemeyn received her certifications over the next few years in massage therapy, Raindrop oils and PEMF from Leda Mox of Armstrong Equine Massage in Becker, MN. “It’s a field where you put a lot of money into it but the results you get back are crazy. It’s fun to watch the progress and see what a simple massage can do for a horse.
“Raindrop massage is just a series of essential oils down the spine and around the hoof that I massage in,” Kallemeyn said.
“I’ve used it on my thoroughbred gelding for his back legs because they are always swollen because of the muscle and tendon breakdown in them. For about a week after that there is no swelling. And it’s a huge toxin release out of the body.” Eventually, her horse came out of “survival mode” and began putting on the weight. “He looks really good right now.”
“Peppermint is used a lot in horses for muscles to reduce inflammation and help muscles heal faster,” Kallemeyn said. ‘Peace and Calming’ is an aromatherapy blend used for reducing anxiety, and is combined with finger pressure on acupuncture points. “Each individual oil has its main purpose, but all the oils usually have a wide range of what they can help with.”
The Raindrop Essential Oil treatments include use of such oils as peppermint and eucalyptus in generating pain relief on injury sites, and to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. While some essential oils have caused FDA concern, others are well known in the medical field by their predominant chemical compound. One example is methyl salicylate, or oil of wintergreen, which is the main analgesic in the deep heating liniment known as Bengay for treating joint and muscule pain, and as an antiseptic agent in Listerine mouthwash.
Kallemeyn works on horses from St. Peter to the Iowa border, but hopes to expand her range. Normally, she sees two to five horses per visit. Back and hind leg injuries are the most common injuries she sees. Most of her clients are gaming horses, “because a lot of gaming horses are really driving and really pushing with their back end. Especially barrel horses. They really get down and they dig around those barrels. Even pleasure horses have to drive and push off their back end to get them looking good.” The horse then compensates and strains other muscles.
Kallemeyn usually applies only one therapy to a horse, but has, on occasion, pulled out all the stops. “In a standard massage I sometimes use a just a single oil, like if it has a respiratory issue, there’s single oils that can help with that respiratory issue. If I use that in a standard massage it enhances what that massage does and overall helps out that horse,” she said.
“(This Spring) There was a (palomino mare) that was in an accident—she got scared and landed on a truck basically,” Kallemeyn said. “She had essentially every major bone in her body out of place which is very painful. Even when you put a halter on her face you could tell she wanted it off because just that little bit of pressure hurt.” Kallemeyn used both the PEMF and Raindrop oil massages on her. After three weeks of therapy, she was pronounced 100 percent sound by a veterinarian and a chiropractor, Kallemeyn said. “She was a barrel horse and they didn’t think they’d ever put a saddle back on her, let alone have her back in a real pen. They haven’t had her back in a race but she’s been in a lot of training and a lot of drills and she’s handling it just fine. She has no lasting effects from that injury—whereas she should have. She had a head injury, neck injury and rib injuries.”
PEMF was critical in the treatment of another of her patients. A bay mare she worked on got caught in a fence and sustained a pelvis/back leg injury. “Her last option was surgery and they weren’t riding her anymore... She was so rough to ride because she couldn’t move her legs right. That horse is now back running games and in the show pen,” Kallemeyn said. “That one I’ve been pretty happy with. We did three treatments on her and I have videos of her from the first time I saw her until now and she is a completely different horse.” Kallemeyn said the bay showed recently and her owners were, “very happy with how she did.”
PEMF has also been used in human medicine. According to the Johns Hopkins website (hopkinsmedicine.org), electromagnetic therapy does have a place in standard or conventional medicine. It is used when shocking a heart to reestablish a rhythm after cardiac arrest, for increasing bone growth, and in treating certain types of pain with a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator, or TENS. Some PEMF devices are FDA approved and have been proven through clinical studies to increase fusion rates in neck surgery from 87 percent success to 93 percent success.
“I can feel the current when I’m working with it. It does make muscles jump and move when I’m working with it,” Kallemeyn said. The result is increased blood flow and better oxygenation.
Eventually, Kallemeyn would like to build a large animal rehabilitation center. “In that facility there would be an area where I could swim them. Swimming is huge for muscles and neurologic conditions for getting the coordination back,” she said.
Kallemeyn is a member of the Lewisville Fire Department and an Emergency Medical Responder. She is the wife of Dylan Kallemeyn and the daughter of Scott and Heidi Voyles of Lewisville. She has a flock of 25 registered purebred Suffolk sheep and recently returned from the National Suffolk Sheep Show in Lebanon, Indiana where she had two of her entries place in the champion ewe drive early this month.
Prospective clients can reach Kallemeyn through her Facebook page or at 507-236-5898.
Brian Nickerson, Yvonne (Nickerson) Noorlun and Brian Nickerson have been named the 2018 Volunteers of the Year by the Truman Community Club.
BY KATE CROWLEY ROSENBERG
It’s hard to get everything done in a day that needs doing. That’s when the movers and the shakers set themselves apart. Ask the Nickersons. Brad, Brian and Yvonne grew up in Truman with parents who volunteered in everything from the Truman Fire Department to their church. Yvonne, now a Noolun, can’t remember a time when they didn’t just pitch in to get things done.
This year, the Truman Community Club has named these grown siblings Volunteers of the Year, not just for their work on the Truman Days over the years, but for all of their hard work. Everything from Boy Scouts, the now defunct Jaycees, Truman Active Living Coalition and many others have benefited from their free labor and guidance.
“Our parents were the real volunteers,” said Yvonne. “There was nothing they didn’t do. My dad and all my brothers have had careers in the volunteer Fire Department.” That’s a commitment spanning four generations—from grandfather Stanley to son Jason; about 150 years combined experience.
The Nickerson’s parents, Russell and Chloris, set the bar high for their children. Russell put more than 20 years into the fire department. Chloris gave 40 years to the Red Cross.
“If you have parents that are active like that,” offered office manager Belinda Miller, “it trickles down.”
Yvonne’s bed and breakfast, The Whittler’s Lady, demands her attention when guests check in, but at other times she can be found mending the flags flown at each end of Truman on major holidays—a project she and her brothers Brad and Brian, owners of Nick’s Body Shop, hold dear.
“It took a lot of work to get that project off the ground,” Brian said. From its inception, the Nickerson brothers nurtured that idea until it built up enough steam to get funding and support from the community. But the flags don’t always fly. “The fact is we look at the weather and if it’s too windy, we don’t put them up. It’s fifty flags and we don’t want them to get all torn up.” For which Yvonne is grateful.
Every project begins with an idea. “If you don’t say nothin’, nothin’ gets done,” Brian said. Every once in awhile, someone will come to him with an idea and ask, “How do we get this done.” His response, he says, is, “Let me work on it.” And work on it he does, sometimes when the shop should be taking his time.
Brian, Brad, and Yvonne are among countless others in the community who take the idea, chew on it a bit, kick it around the block a few times to get some input, and then set to work. They’ve been doing it since they were kids.
Sometimes the hardest part about putting together a project is listening to input. It’s not always favorable.
“You have to learn to listen,” said Yvonne. Those who criticize may get drafted into service, in a sweet sort of way.
“We don’t do it for a pat on the back. We don’t like to get recognized,” Brian said. “We just like to get things done.”
Brad said there are a number of ways to volunteer in Truman, but the first step is to know what’s going on and where help is needed.
“Go to a city council meeting to hear what’s going on. Or the church council. Or the utility council,” he said. Brad spent a number of years with Truman Utility Council as a volunteer board member.
Brian spent 40 years on the Fire Department, including assistant chief and fire chief, before he retired about a year ago. Brad nearly as many. They also helped spearhead the addition to the firehouse. “Then the taxpayers got involved to get the funding. Brad and I stayed after that addition to get it done.”
“It was a battle. It wasn’t any fun,” Brad said of the firehouse addition efforts. Not all projects are fun, but the results bring satisfaction.
“If you don’t stay after it, it won’t get done,” Brian said.
Recent rains have brought more problems to Minnesota communities.
“The infrastructure wasn’t designed for the rains we’ve been having,” Brian said, which creates an opportunity for volunteerism. Cleaning the leaves and other debris from the storm drain covers is a simple job every homeowner can do, freeing up labor and tax money for the city to address other problems. “It’s a constant battle. Everybody has to stay involved in it,” he said. “We can’t spend millions of dollars to redo the infrastructure because of mother nature. It’s a tough call, because what the city does costs us all money. We all know that.”
Truman Days is an opportunity to bring former residents home to socialize with old friends. It’s also an opportunity to get young kids involved. The beer tent will take anyone 18 or over to help serve, but there are plenty of opportunities for younger kids, as well.
Yvonne noted that blood donors who give when they are still in high school are more likely to give blood as they get older; whereas 30-year-olds who have never given blood aren’t likely to step up as they age. She encouraged all families to get their school kids busy volunteering - and giving blood - to establish the habit.
While they are active in many community organizations and councils, short-term projects get them motivated; like when the city needed some playground equipment set up and some shingling done.
“We just put in a couple days and got it done,” Brian said. Next on the horizon are some updates to the RV park. This project like many others, Brian said, will get done without “taxing the taxpayers.”
As the movers and shakers of Truman look toward retiring their positions, they look towards the younger set to step up. “Glen, Melody, Mark, Neil Breitbarth,” Brian said, “It’s serious. They want to retire from it.” So anyone with the ability to squeeze a few extra hours out of a week here and there is a prime candidate for many of the Truman boards and committees - resume building stuff. And they won’t have a steep learning curve.
“We never said we wouldn’t help them,” Brian said, volunteering his experience once again.
Combat boots were left, by Operation 23 to Zero, on the steps of the Minnesota state capitol to bring awareness to military and veteran suicide. The Veterans Crisis Line is 800-273-8255.
Brady Oberg Legacy Foundation Embodies One Family's Response to Veteran Suicide
BY KATE CROWLEY ROSENBERG
BY NIKKI MEYER
Operation 23 to Zero. That’s the mission; to bring veteran suicides in the United States from 23 per day down to zero. This Minnesota-based veterans support and awareness group has been sponsoring activities to bring awareness to this issue and to provide opportunities for veterans and the public to lend a hand.
Every day in the United States, 22 military veterans and one active duty servicemember commit suicide. And most are preventable. It just takes a phone call to the Veterans Crisis Number: 800-273-8255 to get help rolling. But it is a call many of these soldiers are reluctant to make.
Deb Grote, Veterans Service Officer in Watonwan County said, “Locally, I am aware of at least two veterans and one active duty service member that has committed suicide in the last few years.
“A lot of our veterans that commit suicide have PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder). PTSD and MST (Military Sexual Trauma) are the two leading causes of veteran suicide. The suicide rate among female veterans is 2.5 times higher than that of civilian females. Male veterans have a 19% higher risk of dying by suicide than their civilian counterparts,” Grote said.
“We call these service members heroes,” Grote said, “...But when they get out of the service and they come home, and after everybody’s been calling them a hero for all this time, it makes it very difficult for them to then tell somebody they need help. So I think they’re put in this position of ‘If I tell somebody I’m not doing well and I need help, they won’t think I’m a hero anymore—I’ll be letting them down,’ so they don’t ask for help. They suffer in silence until they can’t take it anymore and they end up taking their own life.”
Most of the veterans Grote sees are Vietnam-era veterans. The younger veterans she sees less frequently, she said. “The ones from Iraq and Afghanistan, very seldom will come in to file claims for PTSD.”
“What I often see are the symptoms, but they’re not admitting to them. And you can see they start having trouble with the law, or they start having divorce issues, they start losing their jobs, or they’re drinking a lot,” she said, “but they’re not identifying it as having PTSD... They’re in denial.”
These symptoms are the red flags that family and friends should use as signals for knowing when to intervene.
“If you think they’re contemplating suicide, you need to ask them—don’t be afraid to ask them. And if they are, you need to get them to an emergency room,” Grote said. From that point, the Veterans Service Officers can initiate admission to the St. Cloud VA Medical Center for inpatient treatment.
“The best approach is sooner rather than later. Get them into an emergency center,” she said.
Grote stressed that family and friends should not be afraid to approach the subject of suicide or depression with these veterans.
“When you’re talking to a veteran in that situation... imagine yourself back in a battlefield. If you’re in the middle of a battle and you need help, you don’t hesitate to call for reinforcements. Right now they’re in battle at home for their life; don’t be afraid to call for reinforcements. That’s what we’re here for.”
Veterans Service Officers treat those who seek help. Groups such as Operation 23 to Zero do their best to infiltrate the veteran ranks and bring help to the front lines at home. Ruck marches and other events are held regularly throughout the state to give people an opportunity to bring awareness and financial support to these veterans in crisis.
One such march was the Brady's Border 2 Border Ruck March held for the first time in May of 2018, just before Memorial Day. Participants organized into four teams that then marched in turns from the
Canadian border to the North and South Dakota border—240 miles in 10-mile increments—to honor fallen soldier Brady Oberg, one of 14 men, in a 140-man company, who committed suicide. None were killed in action, but 10 percent have taken their lives since returning home from Afghanistan in 2014.
Participants in the ruck march wore a 20 lb. military pack, representing the 20+ veterans who commit suicide each day.
Among the organizers of the ruck march is John Dalziel, husband of Andy (Marks) Dalziel, daughter of Pat and Curtis Jones, of Truman. Dalziel is a Marine Corp veteran who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. While not in Oberg's division, Dalziel also lost a friend and fellow veteran to suicide.
Dalziel joined the work of the foundation through friendships with several other veterans who all regularly workout together at CrossFit Fargo. CrossFit Fargo was also a sponsor of the ruck march.
Writes Oberg's family on their foundation website,
"In retrospect, some signs of PTSD were there, but they weren’t recognized. No one realized how deeply he was struggling.
"After his return to civilian life, he tried counseling, but felt that those who tried to help him 'really didn’t get it.' He believed that counselors who hadn’t been in combat can’t understand the mind of a combat soldier and that the best counseling came from time spent with fellow soldiers."
Based on their experiences with Brady during his time between returning home and taking his own life, members of the foundation have set three goals:
• Creating retreats for veterans to "allow them to have fun while unburdening their hearts and minds as only they can do, together."
• Setting up scholarships for "combat veterans that are going into the mental health field as counselors or psychologists."
• Raising PTSD Awareness though events open to "the general public and to spouses and families who often do not recognize the signs or know how to help."
The mission of all those who knew Brady and who are involved in the foundation is "Promoting a Happy and Healthy Life for Combat Veterans."
"Please just pick up that phone," Dalziel said. "Just pick it up. It's not a sign of weakness to ask for help. I've been there. Just ask for help. That is so important."
The Veterans Crisis Line is 1-800-273-8255 (press 1). The website is veteranscrisisline.net. The Watonwan Veterans Service Office number is 507-375-1254. The Martin County Veterans Service Office number is 507-238-3220. For more information on Operation 23 to Zero, find them on Facebook or at their website op23tozero.com.