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Estherville Area

OUR hometown

APRIL 2019






Presented by the


1221 Central Ave. Estherville 712-362-7246

APRIL 2019

FEATURES: 4 A test of Strength and Will Power By Jennifer Astello

10 A Blast from the Past By David Swartz

16 700 Pieces of Hope By Amy H. Peterson

FEATURETTES 9 Kidʼs Corner 14 Crossword 22 Hot Pics 24 Upcoming Events 26 Parting Shot

Estherville Area

OUR hometown

Contributors MANAGING EDITOR - David Swartz WRITERS: Amy H. Peterson, Jennifer Astello PUBLISHER - Glen Caron ADVERTISING - Glen Caron GRAPHIC DESIGN - David Swartz

On the Cover: Justin Scott discovered this mug commemorating the 1982 Estherville Girls Basketball State Championship amongst a pile of items headed to Goodwill. Estherville resident Mark Gruwell helped bring the mug back to town. Story on Page 10

Direct inquiries to: 10 North Seventh Street, Estherville, Iowa 51334 * 712-362-2622 Our Hometown is published every two months by The Estherville News, with all rights reserved, Copyright, 2019

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 3

A test of


Less than two years ago, 15‐ year‐old Simon Isaac Sanchez of Estherville, Iowa was in a devastating accident. August 16, 2017 13‐year‐old Sanchez was taken to the Sioux Falls hospital for injuries to his head and brain after he was involved in a moving vehicle accident. Sanchez was hospitalized for 8 days and in the Intensive Care Unit 4 out of those 8 days. The family was devastated and uncertain of what the future would be like for their 13‐year old entering high school, but after a long recovery the family now celebrates Simon’s strength and will‐power. On Saturday, March 23, Sanchez competed in Council Bluffs, Iowa at the Army National Guard for the 2019‐ Armed Forces Show of Strength and APF AAPF Iowa and Nebraska State Powerlifting Championships. The American Powerlifting Federation and Amateur American Powerlifting Federation Championship was sponsored by Big Iron Compound Strength and Fitness. Sanchez just 15, was the youngest male competitor among adults and finished first place in his weight class of 165 April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 4

Left is Simon Isaac Sanchez, middle‐Simon Sanchez Gallardo (father of Simon Isaac) and right‐17‐year‐old Simon Sanchez, cousin of Simon Isaac.

for deadlifting 429.9 pounds, squatting 363.5 pounds, and benching 203.5 pounds. “I am so proud of him,” said Elizabeth Sanchez, Simon’s moth‐ er. “It hasn’t been two years since his accident, and he is doing all this. First wrestling and now powerlifting. We are proud par‐ ents. I’m so proud of my son for doing and always trying his best in everything that he does. He disciplines himself to get better

and be better. But he never shows off that he is better than others. He helps and motivates others to be their best. I love him for who and what he is becom‐ ing.”

Sanchez takes a humble attitude with his recent first place medal.

“It’s not about the win it’s all about doing your best,” 0said Sanchez. “To me it doesn’t mat‐ Sanchez said that he started lift‐ ter to win first place, I’d rather lift ing weights about three years a heavier weight.” ago and now he works out every‐ day for two hours. He was Sanchez was first approached by inspired by his uncles and other Joel Lair who works in the Estherville Lincoln Central’s High professional weight lifters. April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 5

School weight room. Lair told Sanchez about professional weight training and acts as a mentor to Sanchez. Lair also competes professionally. Lair speaks well of Sanchez and says he has a great future ahead of him. “He has a very bright future, his potential already for the num‐ bers that he can move at his age and weight are very impressive,” said Lair. “We kind of went over some national record numbers, not that he’ll break them any‐ time soon, but if he keeps put‐ ting in the work he sure can. That’s what’s awesome about strength sports you get to decide how far you want to go. You determine your success, he has a very bright future if he wants to. He’s such a good kid and so easy to work with, you talk to him about something and he’s just like, ‘Yep, I’ll work on it,’ then the next time I see him its like, yep, you definitely have been working on that.” Lair said that 4 people from Estherville competed in Saturday’s championship in Council Bluffs, including himself, Simon Isaac and one of Sanchez’s cousin (17) who also took home a medal. Sanchez’s father accompanied his son and nephew during the championship and gave this quote, (Translation to English to follow) “Me siento orgulloso de mi hijo,” dicho Simon Sanchez Gallardo padre de Sanchez. “Isaac des de niño le a gustado los deportes i a pesar de que dios lo ayudado i se aganado. Trofeos, medallas, April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 6

reconocimientos de cualquier deporte el sigue siendo un niño humilde con un gran corazón. Me platica que él no le intere‐ sa las medallas ni trofeos si no ser bien donde el escoge futbol, beisbol, o levantar pesas. me siento plenamente contento y orgulloso de mi hijo. Dios quiera i siempre sea así humilde, talentoso, y con un gran corazón.” ****Translation in English**** “I feel proud of my son Simon Sanchez,” said Simon Sanchez Gallardo, Sanchez’s father. “From a child he has loved sports and God has helped him win trophies, medals and recognitions (certificates) from all the sports. He is a humble kid with a big heart. He tells me he doesn’t care about win‐ ning medals or trophies but to do well in the sports of his choice, soc‐ cer, baseball or lifting weights. I feel very con‐ tent and proud of my son. God willing, he is always humble, talented and with a big heart.” Sanchez looks forward to his next competition and will continue to work hard toward his goals. “Never try to reach first place, just try your best and reach for your goals.” ‐ Simon Isaac Sanchez. April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 7


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Kid’s Corner


362-5264 362-7305 April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 9

A Blast from the Past Commemorative mug from 1982 EHS Girls Championship Team makes its way home April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 10


Long‐time Estherville resi‐ dents remember 1982 well as the Estherville Midgettes brought home the girls bas‐ ketball state championship. In honor of that team, com‐ memorative glass mugs were sold afterward. While many of those mugs can still be found in Estherville homes, one recently made a journey back from eastern Iowa. Justin Scott, a photogra‐ pher from Eastern Iowa, explains how one of the mugs came across his path. “My dad and his long‐time girlfriend are kind of a ‘poor man’s American Pickers,” he said. “They go to estate sales and auctions.” His dad’s girlfriend told him recently to take a load of stuff to Goodwill. “Before I did that I looked through the stuff to make sure there was nothing of mine in there,” he said. That’s when he came across the 1982 Estherville mug. On one 1982: Eastʼs Opie Lower y ha r shot blocked side, it says Estherville during a state girls basketball stohe urnament gam by Esthervilleʼs Debi Nile s e. Midgets with a big ‘E’ Photo submitt and the number ‘1” in ed between. The other side says “1982 Iowa Girls State Basketball Champions 26‐1.”

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 11

University of Northern Iowa campus. How the mug came to be in his parents posses‐ sion, Scott doesn’t know. Scott decided to try to return it to the school in Estherville. After contacting a secretary, an immediate safe solution to returning the mug didn’t present itself.

Gruwell agreed to meet with Scott and brought the mug back with him to Estherville. Gruwell dropped off the mug at the ELC Central Office, where it should eventually find a new home or at least be put on display.

About the mugs Scott took his case to social media where he In trying to find out more about this mug and has Facebook friends around the state. to locate some artwork from the 1982 girls bas‐ Shortly after posting the pictures of the mug, ketball season, the author contacted Larry and he received an almost immediate response Linda Niles. The couple’s daughter Deb Niles from Estherville resident Mark Gruwell, who was a part of the 1982 championship team. was nearby with his daughter touring the Linda said their family ordered six to eight of April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 12

the commemorative mugs. Also, ELC board secretary Kate Woods said she has one of the mugs at home and has seen them at the local pawnshop. About the 1982 EHS girls basketball championship team: Since it’s been 37 years since Estherville cham‐ pionship season, it’s time to educate the younger generation about that team. Iowa girls’ basketball still featured the six‐on‐ six basketball game. Here is an excerpt from March 15, 1982, Estherville Daily News edition on the champi‐ onship game. DES MOINES — It was one of those games that will remain in the minds of basketball fans for a long time. The underdog coming through, avenging an earlier pounding and taking it all. The Estherville Midgettes did just that,

ending a five‐year domination of the state basketball tournament by Central Iowa schools as they upset Des Moines East 71‐70 in the Iowa Girls’ State Basketball Tournament championship game here Saturday night. The game seesawed until the fourth quarter. A free throw by Diane Nauss sealed the game with 12 seconds remaining to put the Midgettes ahead three, 71‐68. With no 3‐point shot in those days, East’s final basket wasn’t enough. Team members were Rhonda Kletsch, Julie Reuland, Julie Lammers, Deb Niles, Diane Nauss, Brenda Arment, Amy Montgomery, Karen Schiedel, Julie Pfund, Alice Jasper, Deb Lietz, Julie Koenecke, Cherilyn Newman, Nancy Waldron, Connie Kaltved, Deanna Lammers, Melissa Martyr, head coach Les Lammers and assistant coach Al Limberg. April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 13


Engraving Invitations Awards



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April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 14

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Answer on Page 25


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April 2019 Ã&#x; OUR HOMETOWN Ã&#x;Ã&#x; 15

700 PIECES OF HOPE Mary Sifrit brightens days with a collection of cross necklaces

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 16

It started with the first cross, gifted by Mary’s aunt after Mary’s brother accidentally shot her when Mary was 10. BY AMY H. PETERSON STAFF WRITER


t started with a bang, and not in a good way. Ten‐year‐old Mary Sifrit’s brother accidentally shot her in the eye one day.

“They saved my eye, but it doesn’t work,” Mary said. The bullet lodged in her brain and with all the med‐ ical knowledge available in the 1950s, doctors at University of Iowa hospitals spent months helping Mary’s brain to heal. It was while Mary was in the hospital that her aunt, Mildred Olson, gave Mary a gift of a necklace. On the pendant was a square with a small cross in it. “I was enthralled by that cross. I looked at it all the time,” Mary said. “After the medical work was done, the therapists they had then were basically mom and dad,” Mary said. So, Mary went home to her parents, two brothers and two sisters and re‐learned how to eat, to walk, and to be in the world the way she was before, for the most part. “When I make a mistake, I tell people I’m brain damaged,” Mary said, laughing. A few years later, Mary’s mother died of a sudden illness at the age of 36. “People don’t always know what to say when A newspaper clipping shows Mary in a news someone’s grieving,” Mary said. “People would clipping from just before she was shot in an accisay to me, ‘it’s all for the best.’ How can a mother dent. who’s still raising little ones dying be for the best?” The cross necklaces kept coming, one by one.

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 17

Mary looks over her hanging collection of cross necklaces at her home near downtown Estherville.

Then Mary’s father died two years later and the children were about to be split up with relatives and foster homes. Mary’s oldest brother lied about his age so he could join the Armed Services and not have to go to foster care. Mary’s older sister lied about her age so she could get mar‐ ried. The younger three sib‐ lings went to live at Aunt Mildred’s house.

Maryʼs aunt Mildred became her guardian after her mother then her father died in quick succession.

that big of a house,” Mary said. For thirty years, Mary has worked in the dietary depart‐ ment at Good Samaritan Center washing dishes, pass‐ ing meals and pouring drinks. “I’m proud to work for my liv‐ ing and work with such tremendous people,” Mary


Mildred, who had just one surviving son, had Each work day, she wears a different cross from always wanted a big family, and cared for Mary and her collection, and the residents look at it, even her siblings. Mary’s cousin, the formerly only child, reach up to touch it, as Mary serves their meal. was not happy about the situation. “There are some ladies who are upset if they don’t “He went from having two upstairs rooms to him‐ get to see my cross on a certain day,” Mary said. self to sharing a bedroom with my brother and hav‐ ing my sister and me in the other room. It wasn’t But most of the time, the crosses, some plain and April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 18

some fancy, bring the residents and other staff at Good Samaritan Center joy and hope. “I know who cured me,” Mary said. “Some days I don’t know why, but it’s on my mind every day I go to work.” Mary keeps one rack of crosses for the majority of her collection, and a separate rack over her bed‐ room door for the plain crosses she wears for Lent. Some of these are wood whittled into clean lines, and some are metal. Some are crucifixes, and some are made from nails. Due to her loss of eyesight in one eye, Mary does not drive. Most days she walks to work at Good Samaritan Center and she can be seen in the down‐ town area walking her rescued collie, Charlie, a pre‐ viously abused dog who is skittish around new peo‐ ple. Mary also lost hearing in one ear and said she has terrible headaches more days than not.

Mary reflected on her work at Good Sam. “It’s hard when we have to say goodbye to the res‐ idents, but that’s kind of what we’re there for; to walk beside them for their last steps on earth,” Mary said.

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Blum-Leonard Insurance & Real Estate 418 Central Avenue, Estherville IA 51334 • 712-362-7272 • April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 21


Photos by David Swartz April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 22


Hot Pics

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 23


Family Owned and Operated


Clair Iverson Jay Iverson

712-362-5300 • 827 W. Central Ave., Estherville

Estherville City Wide Garage Sales ..........3-4 Estherville High School Rodeo ....................4-5 Defiance Extreme Trail Run ............................4

Good Samaritan Society Society Estherville

Team Amy Run.........11 Memorial Day ...........27

Answer to crossword on Page 16

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 24

We Buy, Sell & Trade Daily



JUNE Emmet County Relay for Life ........................7 Library Summer Reading Program Veterans Memorial Park Dedication ..........................15 Downtown Market (Thursdays and Saturdays)

JULY Estherville Flight Breakfast .....................4 Armstrong Fourth of July Celebration .................4 Estherville Crazy Days ..........18-21 Emmet County Agricultural Show and Fair ...............25-28 Downtown Market (Thursdays and Saturdays)

April 2019 ß OUR HOMETOWN ßß 25

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Photo by Amy H. Peterson

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Defy the Odds. Take the Challenge.

Profile for David Swartz

2019 April Our Hometown  

Published every two months by the Estherville News, Estherville, IA. Features local stories.

2019 April Our Hometown  

Published every two months by the Estherville News, Estherville, IA. Features local stories.