Wolf calls it a career

Published 10:39 am Monday, February 2, 2009

Ed Wolf had the Mower County Board of Commissioners and others at Tuesday’s county board meeting howling with laughter.

His ready smile, keen sense of humor and all-around good nature make him one of the most popular Mower County employees in any department.

The truck driver and heavy equipment operator in the Mower County Highway Department is retiring after 24 years, and he is leaving them laughing.

Email newsletter signup

Wolf was honored at Tuesday’s county board meeting, starting with his boss, Mike Hanson, county engineer.

“In the 11 years, that I have known Ed,” Hanson said, “he not only strives to do his job as professionally as he can, but he goes above and beyond that.”

“You’re losing a person who really cares about Mower County,” Hanson told the commissioners.

“The next time you will see him he will be cutting the grass at the Cedar River Golf Course at Adams,” Hanson predicted.

Dick Miller, the department’s maintenance superintendent, called Wolf “One of the most honest and hard-working people the County has.”

Craig Oscarson, county coordinator, piped in, “Eddie has been a great employee.”

Gary Barclay, a co-worker of Wolf’s, said, “He took his work very seriously and gave it his best all the time.”

When Wolf was asked to speak, he was his usual affable self.

He recalled that he had worked for The Joseph Company before taking a job with Mower County …reluctantly.

“The pay and the benefits weren’t as good as I was making at The Joseph Company when I was first offered a job,” Wolf said.

Those feelings changed in 1984, when he was laid-off by the Austin construction company.

When he applied for a job with the Mower County Highway Department, he took a physical examination, and doctors discovered he had a slight curvature of the spine.

“I told them I had been working construction all those years, climbing ladders and everything with my back, but they said they couldn’t hire me,” Wolf said.

A friend told him to talk to Bob “Butch” Finbraaten, the legendary 2nd District Mower County Commissioner.

Adams, where the Wolf family lived, was in Finbraaten district.

“He told me to get a second opinion and see another doctor,” Wolf said.

That’s what the 48-year old man did at the time, but he didn’t learn he got the highway department job until a friend, not Finbraaten or Mower County, told him.

“I was walking down the street one day and this guy I knew hollers at me ‘Hey, Ed! You got hired’ and that’s how I learned I got the job,” Wolf recalled, as the audience erupted in laughter.

Dave Tollefson, 5th District county commissioner and chairman of the county board, expressed the county’s appreciation for 24 years as a heavy equipment operator and trick driver and wished Wolf a happy retirement.

In other personnel matters, the county board adopted the recommendation of the personnel committee to hire a temporary employee to fill-in while another county employee in the department of human services leaves work for medical leave.

The new temporary hiree has previously worked in the DHS.

The hiring was recommended by Julie Stevermer, new DHS director, and the county board’s personnel committee.

The situation required the attention of the county board’s finance committee as well as personnel committee, so concerned are the commissioners about pending cuts to the DHS, they said before deciding they wanted to see if the DHS budget could handle the two employees’ pay.

According to the commissioners’ decision, the new temporary hiree will work up to a maximum of 12 weeks, depending, the county coordinator said,

“When the employee feels they can come back to work.”

Kathy Grant and Dawn Mueller were recognized Tuesday for earning certificates as County Election Administrators.

Doug Groh, Mower County Auditor-Treasurer and the two employees’ supervisor, said the pair will be an “asset to Mower County for years to come,’ because of the expertise they share.