Arlene Walch from Hettinger, N.D., is a newly elected member of the Adams County board. Arlene was elected to the board as a director at their county convention in November, along with her neighbor and friend, Rhonda Knutson. Adams County has a very unique board. Out of the six board members, four of them are female. Arlene’s involvement in WILD events and as a member of the 2016 Policy and Action Committee helped make her answer yes when asked to join the board.
“I want to make a difference in my county,” Arlene said.
Arlene attended the WILD regional event in Dickinson in the spring of 2015. When Arlene saw an ad in the Union Farmer for the National Farmers Union Women’s Conference, she and Rhonda applied. They both attended the conference together in Clearwater Beach, Fla., in January of 2016.
When asked why she decided to take a more active role in Farmers Union, Arlene said, “I’m not always going to be working, and I need to find something fulfilling to do with my time along with grandma time.”
She and her husband, Russ, were co-owners of Walch Trucking for 37 years, hauling livestock and grain. The husband and wife team also did custom harvesting. They leased farm and ranch land, also taking over Russ’s uncle’s farm operation when he was diagnosed with cancer, a battle he eventually lost.
When Russ passed away in 2009 from his own cancer fight, Arlene maintained the business for another year and a half and then sold it. She still owns 120 acres east of Hettinger that she leases to another producer. In addition to all of her farm jobs, Arlene is a nurse. She started in the fall of 1971 at the Hettinger Hospital and later transferred to the West River Health Services-Hettinger Clinic where she still works full-time.
Growing up as the youngest of nine children on a farm in Sioux County near Selfridge, Arlene is no stranger to farm life. Her family raised cattle and grew small grains and hay.
“My father died when I was 11 and we just had to work,” she said.
She graduated as Valedictorian of her class at Selfridge.
Arlene has three sons and nine grandchildren. Her oldest son Scott lives in South Carolina, while Terry is in Mandan and Nyle resides in Minneapolis.
She served on the Hettinger School Board while her youngest was still in high school. Today, she is a board member for National Mutual Benefit, Branch 81 in Hettinger. Arlene was asked to be on the board with no involvement in the company for an impartial opinion.
She is also a member of Community Kicking Cancer Organization. They hold events like poker runs and pool tournaments with all of the net proceeds going to making blankets and giving $100 gas cards to cancer patients getting chemo. Since both her father, husband and a sister died of cancer, this organization is very near to her heart.
Arlene is also a member of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Hettinger and St. Anne’s Altar Society. When her children were younger, she was very active as a CCD teacher, Confirmation teacher and a Eucharist Minister. In her spare time, she likes to go fishing, dancing and enjoys fantasy football. Additionally, she has been selling fireworks for the Fourth of July for 25 years.
– Jennifer Sundeen, NDFU