Hopelessly devoted to you: Herman & Marian Hinders are still valentines after 70+ years

posted Feb 14, 2017, 7:04 AM by Dan R

In just a few months, Herman and Marian Hinders will celebrate their 73rd wedding anniversary. As of today, they have logged 26,325 days as a couple — not counting their courtship.

Their love story began in Hancock County, Iowa, just west of Mason City/Clear Lake. Marian’s family was from Britt, while Herman lived in nearby Woden.

“My brother and I played cards with her folks,” recalled Herman. “In her family, there were 10 girls and one boy, and she’s the last one I met.”

“My folks had moved to Britt, and I was still in school in Garner,” continued Marian, filling in some of the details. “Someone brought me home that night, and here they were playing cards, but I walked right by them and went to bed.”

“I said, ‘Who was that?’” related Herman. “I thought I had met all the daughters.”

On a subsequent Saturday night, their paths crossed again.

“We’d go into town on Saturday nights,” Marian said. “He was there, rollerskating. I didn’t want to skate because I wasn’t that good.”

But evidently Herman cut a fine figure on the roller rink floor, and Marian took a shine to him right away. Before the evening was over, Herman asked to take her home.

“I told her folks, ‘Marian’s not going home with you,” Herman related.

As their courtship progressed, Marian took a drastic measure to ward off the other girls who were vying for Herman’s attention.

“I had lots of competition from the gals at his church,” she said. “So I went to Ben Franklin and got a fake engagement ring and wore it.”

“A 10 cent ring,” inserted Herman with a chuckle. “She didn’t tell me that until later.”

After she graduated from high school, Marian took Normal training and assumed teaching duties at a country school — one that, coincidentally, Herman had earlier attended. Meanwhile, Herman worked on farms and then took a painting job.

“That way I had weekends free,” he noted.

Eventually, Herman presented Marian with a real ring and they were married May 2, 1942, in Clarion, Iowa.

“The summer we got married, we didn’t do much — goofed around, honeymooned all summer,” Herman explained. “I knew I was going to be drafted.”

Herman had earlier tried to enlist in the Armed Services, but didn’t make the cut. But with the World War II raging on two fronts, he knew it was just a matter of time until he was called up.

“I was drafted into the Air Force,” he said. “I was very fortunate. They needed people in the Air Force. They asked, ‘Can you type?’ and I said, ‘Yes.” ‘You’re in.’ So I was a clerk at six different bases.”

“So we did a lot of moving around,” added Marian.

Since Herman was kept stateside, Marian accompanied him to his assignments as much as possible, returning to her family in Britt when necessary. Their favorite locale was Spearfish, S.D., where the Hinders were able to live off base and Herman was treated like an officer even though he never made it past private first class.

“I volunteered” to go overseas, Herman said. “They wouldn’t promote me. So I worked all over the place. Someone would get sick, and they’d jam me in there.”

When the war ended, Herman was transferred one last time to Pennsylvania, where he was discharged in November 1945. He returned home and was employed at the hardware store in Forest City, Iowa.

“I did both sales and service,” Herman said. “After a year and a half, he promoted me to assistant manager. But it was tough making it on $30 a week with a family. We didn’t have a car, so we had to walk everywhere.”

“He’d bring part of the groceries home at noon and the rest at night, because he had to carry them,” remembered Marian.

Herman tried farming, too, but in hindsight is grateful that didn’t work out. Instead, he went into the lightning protection business, selling and installing lightning rods. This enterprise took the Hinders to Fairmont, where they lived for 10 years and their children, Doug and Janet, graduated from high school. Then Herman was hired by the gas company in Windom, where they spent one year before they moved to Worthington in 1962. He was the sales manager at Greeley Gas Co., retiring in 1985.

With their children gone from home, Marian worked for a few years as a sales associate at The Stag in downtown Worthington. She put in 12 years at the Manna Food Pantry until a heart attack forced her to slow down four years ago.

Herman and Marian have both endured some health challenges over the years, although they are grateful the outcomes haven’t been more serious and that they are able to still to live in and maintain their own home. The breast cancer gene runs in Marian’s family, so she had a precautionary double mastectomy in the late 1970s. Herman had a blood clot in his leg and makes a point of walking regularly to prevent a recurrence.

Son Doug and daughter Janet and spouses live in Florida, and Herman and Marian boast proudly of them and their four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. They used to travel to visit their clan, but now stick close to home.

These days, it’s Marian who is the card player, with a long-standing bridge date twice a month.

“Some of us have been playing together for years,” she said. “It’s a good pastime, keeps your mind sharp.

“I don’t think Herman could play bridge. He likes to visit too much, and we don’t visit when we play,” she added, poking a bit of fun at Herman’s penchant for telling stories and jokes.

Marian also likes to work on jigsaw puzzles, and Herman does quite a bit of reading. Together, they are active in their church, Westminster Presbyterian, although not as much as they once were.

“Sundays we go to church, and we do whatever we can do,” said Herman.

“You know, you have to keep active,” Marian chimed in. “Like they say, ‘use it or lose it.’”

If there’s one secret to their enduring marriage, Herman joked that it’s saying “Yes, dear,” but he also makes a point of bestowing a kiss on his bride of 72-plus years whenever he leaves the house.

The Hinders count their blessings every day.

“And do what we have to do each day,” said Marian.

“And sometimes more,” added Herman.

“It just takes us longer to get those things done,” finished Marian.


posted Sep 15, 2016, 8:09 AM by Dan R

Bernice Camery will celebrate her 90th birthday on Thursday September 15th.
An open house, hosted by her family, will be from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday September 18th in Geneva Hall at Westminster Presbyterian Church.

Backpack distribution is Thursday 8-24-16

posted Aug 24, 2016, 5:27 AM by Dan R

Backpack and school supplies for children who live in Nobles County and will attend grades kindergarten through fourth grade will be handed out from 9 a.m. to noon Thursday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 230 W. Clary St., Worthington.
The program is made possible through donations from individuals and businesses in Nobles County. Monetary donations are still being accepted for the program and may be made to the Manna Food Pantry, earmarked for the backpack program. Checks may be mailed to Manna Food Pantry at 230 W. Clary St., Worthington.

Each child receiving a backpack must register at the door and be accompanied by an adult.

Newly ordained pastor Ojulu hopes to grow multicultural church

posted Jul 12, 2016, 11:44 AM by Dan R

Somehow, it seemed fitting that Owar Ojulu’s ordination was taking place on the same weekend as Worthington’s International Festival. 
Ojulu, who grew up in Ethiopia and has been in the United States for nine years, was ordained Saturday into the Presbyterian Church (USA),
becoming the first Anuak to do so. Ojulu’s hope as a pastor is to work together with Worthington’s various African communities in both worship and mutual respect of cultures and life experience.

“My plan is to have a multicultural congregation,” said Ojulu, who was ordained into Hope Christian Ministry. The ministry currently meets within the homes of its congregants, as well as at Christian Reformed Church in Worthington.

Ojulu’s path from his war-torn African nation to peaceful, diverse Worthington has been lengthy. Growing up in Ethiopia, he said he was fortunate to find Christ at an early age.

“I am the last child in my family, and I came to be in a Christian family through my uncle,” recalled Ojulu, speaking just prior to his ordination ceremony at Worthington’s Westminster Presbyterian Church. “My uncle had went to a town close by us, and then he became a Christian. When I finished elementary school in (my) village, I moved to the town where my uncle was. That’s where I met friends who were Christians, and my uncle talked to me about Jesus.”

Ojulu’s adopted religious faith was dramatically different from the one to which he was initially exposed, he explained.

“I converted from the traditional belief that my fathers had followed. … We were informed that when we die, we would be transformed into a lizard,” he said. ‘When my uncle told me about the resurrection and about Jesus being raised from the dead, that message was great in my heart. Back in the village, we were so scared of the things that would happen. … Life away from the village, and worshiping Jesus, was so peaceful.”

Ojulu eventually began attending school in Ethiopia in order to become a pastor, but didn’t complete the necessary requirements. Instead, he wound up coming to America and attended the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. He said he graduated in 2012, and has continued since then to go through the process needed to become the first African to be ordained in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys.

In the meantime, Ojulu spent a considerable time in America without his family. He was able to reunite in Worthington with wife and children in 2013, and the couple has three sons and one daughter. Their first American child -- a boy, BodoJwok -- was born in January.

“HIs name means God is victorious, because He has brought us this far,” Ojulu said.

Ojulu now hopes that his journey toward leading a multicultural congregation in Worthington continues. Hope Christian Ministry has already been growing since its formation, he said, and the plan is to continue that growth moving forward.

“Here in Worthington, my goal is to reach out to all Africans here and have a multicultural church where the gospel is contextualized, where they (congregants) worship God in their own language, where their kids can share their cultures and traditions and languages, and where the richness of African culture can be manifested by love,” Ojulu said.

Ojulu added that he came to the Presbyterian Church in the way that many others in Ethiopia did.

“We have a connection with the Presbyterian Church through the missionary Don McClure, who came to Anuak land and our area in late 1930s,” he said. “He named the village he worked in the Village of Life and brought a school, brought medicine and modern farming to my people. In Gambela (Ojulu’s home state in Ethiopia), the name of Don McClure is highly respected because so many people became Christians through him.”

Now, Ojulu is hopeful that many will come to follow Christ through his ministry. Several took part Saturday in his ordination, including: Deb Hess, ruling elder with First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls; Rick Carus, teaching elder with Minnesota Valleys Presbytery; Jim Krapf, teaching elder and retired Minnesota Valleys Presbytery pastor; Peter Mann, ruling elder at Crosslake Presbyterian Church; Charles Moore, ruling elder with Westminster Presbyterian Church; Bonnie Sue Roys, teaching elder at First Presbyterian Church in Windom; and Galen Smith, teaching elder at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Additionally, the Rev. Samuel Atiemo, a Presbyterian minister from the New York City area, attended in what Ojulu explained was a “coach” role.

Ojulu, who is also employed by Nobles County as a community outreach worker, said he looks forward to many years of ministry in Worthington.

“We have made Worthington our home,” he said. “We are at peace, and we don’t have to worry about the war in our area (Ethiopia). I ask the Worthington community to help us grow and to help us integrate.”

Ken and Gloria Jenkins 75th Wedding Anniversary January 31st

posted Jan 25, 2016, 5:47 PM by Dan R   [ updated Jan 25, 2016, 5:51 PM ]

Ken and Gloria Jenkins will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary with an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday in Geneva Hall.
They were married Jan. 31, 1941, in Sibley, Iowa.
Greetings may be sent to them at 1801 College Way, Apt. 238, Worthington 56187.

Smith-Kilker 95th birthday

posted Oct 26, 2015, 12:16 PM by Dan R   [ updated Oct 30, 2015, 7:52 AM ]

Mayme (Ling) Smith- Kilker,
will celebrate her 95th birthday Nov. 4
Greetings may be sent to her at 974 Homewood Ave., Worthington 56187.

August 6th Nelson Family Benefit

posted Jul 20, 2015, 3:22 PM by Dan R

Ken Thompson 95th birthday

posted Jul 16, 2015, 1:37 PM by Dan R

Ken Thompson, Worthington, will celebrate his 95th birthday on Friday.
Birthday greetings may be sent to him at Ecumen Meadows, 1801 Collegeway, Apt. 122, Worthington 56187

Old Fashion Drive Inn

posted Jul 9, 2015, 11:05 AM by Dan R   [ updated Jul 9, 2015, 11:06 AM ]

Sat. July 25th, 5-7 p.m.
Westminster Presbyterian church parking Lot
Menu: Grilled Burgers, Hot dogs, Brats, Chips, Root Beer Floats, Lemonade.
Car hops will serve you at the car or at a table. Your choice!

Russ Rickers has called Worthington home all of his life

posted Apr 3, 2015, 8:31 AM by Dan R

Daily Globe article as printed April 2, 2015

In the front row (from left) are Trojans Clarence Benson, Don Frerichs, David Fagerness, Eldon Voss, Daryl Roth, Ken Wolff and Russ Rickers. In the back row are first-year head coach Ken Thompson, Jack Fenstermacher, Maynard Brass, Giles Harlow, Dale Bartholomaus, student manager Bill “Slim” Lester and student manager David Flynn.The team won Worthington’s first district title since 1927 and finished with an overall record of 17-6, including four victories in the District 8 Tournament and a 44-42 overtime win over East Chain in the regional semifinals at St. Peter. The Trojans were edged by Mankato, 29-27, in the Region 2 championship game.

In March 1949, Russ Rickers was playing a key role in helping Worthington High School win its first district basketball championship in 22 years.In March 1960 — March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, to be exact — Russ married Jan Reding, his sweetheart of nearly seven years, in her hometown of Algona, Iowa. When they returned from their honeymoon trip to Hawaii, Russ and Jan heard the news that Edgerton had just won the Minnesota State High School Basketball Tournament, which was big news back in the day of the one-class event that pitted small schools against bigger schools.

On Aug. 1, 1981 — after three decades in the photography business — Russ and his older brother, Don, sold Rickers Studio to Ric Stewart, who maintained the name and continues taking the quality pictures that Rickers has been known for since Harry and Alice Rickers started the business on Worthington’s Third Avenue when they moved here from Sibley, Iowa, when Russ was 3 years old back in 1934.

Harry and Alice, Don and Russ’s parents, bought the business from E.F. Buchan, and the Rickers family did photography throughout the area for nearly 50 years.

“We took lots of pictures, both at the studio and out at events,” recalled Russ at his home along South Shore Drive. “We photographed lots of babies, families, graduations and weddings. We took pictures at baptisms, first communions and confirmations, which made Sundays a busy day.”

Harry Rickers became good friends with V.M. Vance, the publisher of the Daily Globe, and Rickers did much of the film processing and picture printing for the Globe for many years.“That was a lot of work, but in those days (prior to 1981), the Globe was an afternoon paper, which gave us more time to get things done,” Russ explained. “We also ended up taking lots of accident pictures, and we got to know the local police, sheriffs and coroner pretty well. That wasn’t our favorite part of the business, but it was something that needed to be done.”

On Jan. 24, 1951, Russ and several of his high school buddies and teammates left Worthington by troop train heading south to Camp Rucker in southern Alabama.

Rickers, Don Frerichs, Clarence Benson, David Flynn and Giles Harlow — all members of that 1949 Trojan basketball squad — were now members of Worthington’s 135th Infantry Battalion of Company I of the Minnesota National Guard’s 47th Infantry Division, which had been activated for possible duty in the Korean War.

It was the first time Russ had ventured very far away from Worthington.

“There were about 120 of us on that train, which traveled southeast through Chicago and then continued south,” he said. “It took us quite a few days to make the trip. We didn’t get off much, as we ate and slept on the train. But every time we did get out, we noticed how much warmer it was. There was quite a temperature change between southern Minnesota and southern Alabama in late January.”

The Worthington unit trained infantry troops from all over the United States during its stint at Camp Rucker, which was not far from the Florida panhandle. Russ became a mess sergeant and supervised kitchen patrol (KP) at Camp Rucker, while several others ended up being sent to Korea. A friend of Rickers, Fritz Place from Sioux Valley, was killed in combat in the Korean War.After 18 months, Russ returned home to Minnesota in July 1952 and decided to pursue the photography business more. The brothers bought the business in 1953 and worked together — often with a staff of five others — for the next 28 years.

“We had a lot of dedicated people who worked with us,” Russ said. “We kept busy, that’s for sure.”

During that time, in the spring of 1953, Russ started dating Jan, who was teaching fourth grade at Worthington’s Elementary School (later known as Central). After three years of teaching, Jan completed her four-year degree at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and then later worked for United Airlines in both Sioux City and Des Moines. The courtship continued, however, and Russ and Jan were married and made Worthington their home.

Jan worked at Metz Travel Agency, while Russ continued taking pictures — and also played quite a bit of basketball in various independent leagues at the Worthington YMCA and at the Worthington Armory. He played often with the local VFW squad in the Y-City Ball League and also with the National Guard squad, scoring 30 points in a 75-48 Worthington victory over Luverne in a game in 1955.

“I always liked basketball; it was probably my favorite sport,” said Rickers, who was described as a high school player by the 1949 Trojan (Worthington High School’s annual yearbook) as a “flashy forward.”

Rickers, Frerichs, Fagerness return as Trojan starters for successful 1948-’49 season

Coached for the first year by Ken Thompson, who had been a top-notch basketball player for Hamline University in St. Paul, Rickers was one of three returning starters as the memorable ’48-’49 basketball season began. The other two, as described by the report in the Trojan, were veteran guard Don Frerichs and “all-district pivot man” David Fagerness.

Frerichs (5-10) moved to forward for much of the season, joining Rickers (5-9) and Fagerness (6-2), while senior Clarence Benson and junior Daryl Roth, both 5-8, were Worthington’s guards. It certainly was not a tall lineup that Thompson put on the court.

Frequently, sophomore Eldon Voss (6-2) teamed with Rickers at forward, while Frerichs joined Benson in the backcourt, giving the Trojans a taller look. Junior Kenny Wolff (5-9) was Worthington’s “seventh man” backing up those top six, while senior Jack Fenstermacher and juniors Giles Harlow, Maynard Brass and Dale Bartholomaus provided additional depth. Seniors Bill “Slim” Lester and David Flynn were the team’s valuable student managers.

Wolff and Roth, a pair of good athletes, were selected as Worthington’s football co-captains for the following fall. Fagerness had earned all-state honorable mention honors (Minneapolis Tribune, Ted Peterson) in football as an end the preceding fall, and both he and Frerichs (the WHS track and field captain in 1949) were outstanding hurdlers in the spring.

“We played together well, and almost all of us were three-sport athletes,” summed up Rickers, who was inducted into the WHS Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990, as part of the second group of honored Trojans. Today, Rickers — who played trombone in the band and played roles in both his junior and senior class plays — would be a strong candidate for a Triple A award, as he ranked high academically, participated in track, played second base on the baseball team and was Worthington’s quarterback during football season.

“I played the part of an old guy one year, and I was a young guy the other time,” recalled Rickers about his experience in the school plays. “We had a lot of fun with all our activities in high school.”

Four other athletes from the Class of 1949 are also in the Hall, including Fagerness, Frerichs and Benson, along with Tom Nystrom, who did not play basketball, but starred in both football and baseball for the Trojans.

The ’48-’49 season opened with a 36-23 victory over Lakefield at Memorial Auditorium on Nov. 23 and was followed 10 days later by a one-sided loss to Fairmont (30-15). Wins over Slayton (49-37), Fulda (36-29) and Pipestone (38-34) put the Trojans at 4-1 at the Christmas break.

Then, according to the Trojan, a real highlight occurred at home on Dec. 28 when “Litchfield, one of the strongest teams in the state was a heavy favorite, and the Trojans played the role of dark horse well, as they trimmed the Litch quint 45-33 in a stunning upset.”

A 51-28 triumph over Luverne got 1949 off to a good start and improved WHS to 6-1. Five close games followed as the Trojans lost to Windom (38-37), edged Jackson (36-34), lost to Mountain Lake (36-31), defeated Slayton (38-27) and lost to Marshall (32-30) to finish out January with an 8-4 record.

In February, Worthington earned wins over Luverne (44-30) and Jackson (34-30) before a second loss to Windom (34-30, this time at home). The regular-season finished with wins on the road at Lakefield (35-24) and Pipestone (47-32), giving the team a 12-5 record.

The Trojans were in the East Division of District 8 and claimed convincing victories over Chandler (72-29) and Ellsworth (27-4) to advance to the title game against a much-taller Slayton squad. The Wildcats had three 6-0 starters, along with 6-3 Gordon Gits and 6-7 Floyd Johnson.

But, Worthington prevailed for the third time as Fagerness (15), Roth (12), Rickers (nine) and Frerichs (nine) combined for 45 points in a 52-38 victory. Meanwhile, Edgerton defeated Pipestone 40-35 for the West Division title, setting up a Worthington vs. Edgerton district championship game — a rematch of the 1948 title tilt.

The Flying Dutchmen won the ’48 championship game, 41-35, but the scrappy-playing Trojans turned the tables in ’49, winning 36-32, giving Worthington its first district crown since 1927.

“That was an exciting game and a big thrill for us,” recalled Rickers. “We hadn’t won the district in 22 years, and after coming close the year before, it was really nice to win it in ’49. Coach Thompson did a great job working with us all year long.”

Train ride offered for fans going to St. Peter’s Myrum Field House for Region 2 games

Worthington was pitted against District 5 champion East Chain in the first round of the Region 2 Tournament, which was played in those days at Myrum Field House at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. The huge facility was named in honor of Worthington native George Myrum (WHS Class of 1920), who had been a long-time coach and athletic director at Gustavus in the 1920s and 1930s after excelling as an athlete at WHS (charter member of WHS Hall of Fame in 1989) and the University of Minnesota.

District 7 champion Jackson and perennial District 6 champion Mankato were scheduled to play the first semifinal game at Myrum (7:30 p.m.) with the Trojans vs. East Chain, which had defeated Fairmont (44-39) in the District 5 finals, to follow at approximately 9 p.m.

A special passenger train ride to the game was offered by the Omaha Railroad, but at least 125 passengers were needed. The train was scheduled to leave the Worthington depot at 3:05 p.m., arriving in St. Peter at 5:52 p.m. Departure time after the games was scheduled for 11:30 p.m., with arrival back in Worthington at precisely 2:04 a.m. Cost of the round trip train trip was set at $5.41.

As it turned out, the weather was favorable on that 16th day of March (which was a Wednesday) and the train trip never materialized, due to a lack of numbers.

“I thought that was really interesting that they planned to take a passenger train to the game so lots of spectators could ride without having to drive,” remarked Rickers as he looked back through some of the newspapers from Worthington’s tournament experience.

Mankato edged Jackson in the opener, and Worthington defeated East Chain, 44-42, in overtime despite playing the game without Benson, who was sick with the measles. Rickers scored a team-high 13 points in the victory, while Fagerness netted nine and Voss and Frerichs each scored eight points.

The Trojans stayed overnight at a hotel in downtown St. Peter and squared off against Mankato the next night, St. Patrick’s Day. In a closely-contested game, Mankato emerged with a narrow 29-27 win, sending the Scarlets back to the state tournament for the 12th time (fifth trip in the 1940s) and ending Worthington’s fine season with an overall record of 17-6, which included five tournament victories.

Mankato snapped a 27-all tie by scoring first in the fourth quarter — the only two points of the period -— and controlled the ball by successfully stalling the rest of the game.

“That was a tough way to lose because we never could get the ball back,” remembered Rickers. “In those days, you didn’t have to shoot a free throw if you were fouled, you could choose to just keep the ball instead.”

Mankato went on to win two games at the state tournament before being defeated by St. Paul Humboldt, 47-35, in the 1949 state championship game.

“We all went up there (to watch the state tournament at Williams Arena) and realized we got knocked out by a good team,” concluded Rickers. “But it sure would have been fun to have been playing there ourselves after coming so close.”

Raising a family and later working for CCSI, developing more lasting friendships

The things that stick dearest in Rickers’ memory from his high school years are the close friendships that developed.

“We really became good friends,” Russ says about his teammates. “We still are close and keep in contact often. We have had class reunions every five years, and just about everyone comes each time.”

The same could be said about the photography business. “We developed lots of lasting friendships during our years taking pictures. That was a great thing, getting to know so many fine people.”

During his years as a photographer, Russ and Jan raised their three children -— Joe, John and Sue -— who all graduated from WHS in the decade of the 1980s and were involved in many activities, playing sports for the Trojans.

Joe, who works for Lockheed Martin, has traveled throughout the world and been involved with several space launches. He is currently in the process of moving from Pennsylvania to Denver.

John lives in Bemidji and works for the U.S. Forest Service. He has been involved with Graphic Information System mapping and has helped out with rescue operations after the World Trade Center tragedy in New York City (Sept. 11, 2001) and Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans in 2005.

Sue, who has her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, teaches social work courses at Bemidji State University.

“They have done well with their education, which all started here in Worthington,” said Russ, who along with Jan makes several trips a year to Bemidji to visit John and Sue.

When first asked what he’s been doing since selling the photography business, Russ replied, “Nothing.”

But that’s certainly not true.

After taking a few night classes at Worthington Community College (now known as Minnesota West), Russ started working as an assistant administrator at the Crippled Children’s School Incorporated (CCSI), known as the Lakeview School, on the south side of Worthington in February 1982.

After working under the tutelage of Irene Holmquist for several years, Russ took over when Irene retired and stayed on board until retiring in 1994.

“That was a rewarding experience, striving to develop new programs for the many students of all ages and disabilities,” he said. “We had kids from all over the area, many of whom stayed here and lived in the dormitory.”

Over the years, CCSI changed its name to Client Community Services Inc., which has instituted several lasting programs for the Worthington area including The Achievement Center (TAC), which provides job opportunities for young adults.

“That was one of many great things that Irene pushed for,” Russ said. “She was a great leader and really wanted our students to be able to become involved in the community and do meaningful work.”

Despite the ongoing struggle against increasing government regulations, Rickers completely enjoyed his time with CCSI.

“It was a tremendous experience,” he said. “I have lots of great friends with developmental disabilities, and I am very glad that I was able to be a part of their lives.”

From his wide variety of high school activities, time spent in the National Guard, three full decades as a photographer and a dozen years as an administrator with the CCSI, Russ Rickers has called Worthington his home and has developed so many cherished friendships that have etched their mark in his memory.

“I have lots of wonderful memories, which include great times with family and friends,” he concluded. “It’s been a good life here in Worthington.”

1-10 of 48