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Rugby, a vibrant community with interesting people

January 7, 2011
By Terri Kelly Barta

As I was interviewing Cathy Jelsing for this week's feature story, she said she likes Rugby. "It is a very vibrant community with very interesting people," she added.

She's right! One of the first features of Rugby I noticed as I was driving into town, was that it was a clean and neat town. The next feature I noticed was how nearly every person who lives here is an ambassador for Rugby.

I have said this before, but I was warmly welcomed, not just by the business community, but by every resident I met in the first few weeks I was here. It was amazing. I remember thinking to myself, if you really want to sell your town to people, make them feel welcome by everyone.

In my first few weeks here, I got to know members of the fire department, city officials, law enforcement, parents of athletes, hospital and clinic personnel, people from various churches, and the list goes on and on. To a person, every single one of them welcomed me to Rugby. I have to say that it confirmed for me that I had arrived in the right place to live this part of my journey.

I was invited to join organizations and be a part of a book club. Students I interviewed were polite and respectful. The football team unloaded my truck of belongings when I got here and they did it cheerfully and made short work of it. Older people who live here greeted me and said, "You must be the new editor. It is nice to meet you. Welcome to Rugby." Everyone was so helpful and helping me find my way around to places I needed to go to and I felt comfortable asking for directions.

Then I began to meet some very interesting people. There is Rick Srur who takes care of the Memorial Hall and, by all accounts, he does a good job. He also spreads cheer wherever he is. I talked to Terry Wentz at Hardware Hank. He did his best to try and help me find an apartment and a storage facility when there were none of either to be found. I have since found both.

When I needed a painter for my condo, I contacted Becky Jordan and she is awesome to work with. When I locked myself out of Sandy Mongeon's house while she was in Minneapolis, I called Harpers and they told me to call Brad's Towing Service and he came and helped me get in, with Sandy's permission, of course. Harper's already take care of all my car needs and do an outstanding job. If you haven't met Susie Schmaltz or Linda Kay Duchscher, you haven't met the smiling ambassadors of Rugby. Either one of them could make you feel good on your worst day. Did you know that Don Sobolik and Lori (Lizakowski) Gronvold are both from Minto, originally. I lived in Minto once, for seven years. Florence Frueh, who recently moved to Bismarck from Rugby, was my next-door neighbor when I was growing up in Harvey. Mark Koenig is the brother of Steve Koenig who went to my church in Lisbon.

I still can't believe how kind and helpful everyone is here. It is almost as if you all rehearsed before I got to town, but I know that didn't happen.

Then, of course, there are the legends of Rugby such as Tilman Hovland ( I haven't actually met him yet but I have heard nothing but good things about him.); Chuck and Jan Repnow; Dale Niewoehner; Steve Mueller (whose name he mispronounces as Miller), the hunting fanatic; Terry Jelsing, artist extraordinaire; and the list goes on and on.

You have a town to be proud of, Rugby. I am glad I am getting the opportunity to know all of you.



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