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.
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