Pike in Eagles Hall of Fame

Published 10:42 am Monday, July 7, 2008

Arlene Pike is in the Minnesota State Eagles Auxiliary Hall of Fame.

“It’s the best thing that has ever happened to me since receiving the local Sister of the Year award from the Auxiliary. I’m thrilled,” Pike said.

The award was presented Thursday, June 19 during the 2008 state convention for Minnesota Eagles aeries and auxiliaries. The awards banquet was held at the Holiday Inn of Austin, where much of the state convention activities originated in the host city.

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“I was surprised,” said Pike. “I didn’t know it was going to happen.”

The Hall of Fame honor is the highest that can be bestowed upon an auxiliary member. To qualify, candidates must epitomize the motto: “For Home, For Country, For God.”

Pike has made the three part of her life since the beginning.

A native of Pine Island, she moved to Austin with her husband, Erling, who took a job at the then-Geo. A. Hormel & Company (now Hormel Foods Corporation) Austin flagship plant.

The couple raised five children: two sons and three daughters.

Erling retired after a 32-year career working in the Hormel plant. Cancer claimed his life 14 years ago.

Perhaps, the new Hall of Famer will become better-known if Shaw School is mentioned.

“I worked at Shaw School for 38 years before they retired me,” she said. “Those were great times. I did everything: secretary, cafeteria, detention room, special ed children, you name it.”

In her nearly four decades at the school, she worked for seven different principals, including Norman Hecimovich and Lewis Aaase at the end.

“They were both wonderful principals,” she said.

For Country

Six years separated the birth of her three youngest children and the first two, so ike was busy jugging her professional career in Austin Public Schools and home life.

She found time to volunteer 30 years as a Girl Scouts of America leader and more as a Cub Scouts of America leader.

For God

At her home church, First United Methodist of Austin, she has been a member for over 50 years and taught Bible and Sunday school classes.

Minnesota’s 42 Eagles auxiliaries noticed these credits when Pike was nominated for the Hall of Fame induction plus a few more. Quite a few to be sure, including her Eagles Auxiliary duties.

Two years after joining the local auxiliary, she was elected president.

“I’ve held every position there is except secretary,” she said.

She is the head cashier at the new Eagles headquarters building in Austin, where everybody knows her name.

“They do. All I have to do is walk into that place and somebody is yelling my name,” she said. “They know I like the Vikings and the Twins a lot so we always have something to talk about.”

She also remembers to tumultuous times endorsed by the aerie when fire and floods struck the old headquarters along the Cedar River off East Oakland Avenue.

Most of all, she has happy memories of a perfect fit: a working mother who wanted to interact with other adult women and a women willing to work hard for the organization she loved.

“We moved to Austin after the end of World War II and Erling was discharged from the U.S. Navy,” she said. “I had the family to raise at first and then my job to help support the family.

“I just wanted to get out of the home and meet some ladies like me; some adults I could talk to and enjoy being with. The Auxiliary was just the right thing for me,” she said.

“I’ve made good friends and been involved in some nice projects with my Auxiliary sisters,” she said.

Had Erling beat cancer and lived, the couple would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary a week ago.

Instead of Erling, the new love of her life is community involvement through the Eagles Auxiliary.

“It’s a perfect fit for me,” she said. “We have so many wonderful members and we do such wonderful things in the community. I just like being a part of it.”

Being selected for the state Eagles Auxiliary’s highest honor is another perfect fit for Pike.