Written by Bil Schrader
We have all heard sayings like “they don’t make them like they used to” or a statement starting out “back in the day”. We are in an age where so many things In our lives are changing at such a rapid pace. Day-to-day activities are filled with technology and rapid communications – phone calls, texts, emails, Tweets, Facebook posts, Snapchats; it sometimes leaves one to contemplate what the value a one-on-one personal conversation has.
This past week Galen Braunshausen, an 89-year-old man from my hometown passed away. By many accounts, he had a very full life. He was preceded in death by his wife of 51 years and together they had raised 10 children. Before that he served our country in the Army and fought in three major battles of the Korean War. After returning home, he farmed for 40 years. He never missed a Memorial Day honoring those who served our country and was also a member of the local American Legion post and VFW. He was on the church and elevator boards. He was not of large physical stature, but his heart must have been larger than anyone I knew. Encountering him would lead to a lively conversation filled with stories and well-placed jokes guaranteed to bring a smile to anyone’s face. His humor was a gift; it was filled with quick wit but was never offensive or derogatory. He was loved by all who knew him.
On the day he was laid to rest, the church filled with his family and friends. The service was beautiful and brought back many memories for all those that attended. Following the service, the casket was loaded for the four-mile trip to the cemetery where the route led down the main county road south of town and past his home where all his children were raised. As a tribute to this great man, all of his neighbors parked one of their tractors along the road and hung a flag on it. At his farm there was a large flag on a pole extended out from a boom truck forty feet in the air. What tremendous tribute it was to him and his family. It showed high amounts of respect to what he had stood for his whole life. His wife, himself, and his family had been woven into the fabric of our small community.
Events like this make me thankful for my hometown and the people like this man. I’m grateful for our one-on-one conversations, the stories he told, and his quick wit and jokes. Above all I appreciate what he stood for. He always took time for others and had a personal visit with them making whomever he crossed paths with feel special. These things can’t be Googled or found in a Tweet or a Snapchat. He truly was a special person.
My hope on that day was to remember him and honor him by incorporating some of his principles into my everyday life. In the end, that would be nice, but reality is I can’t hope to be what he was to so many, after all “they don’t make them like they used to…”
Bil Schrader has been with Asmus Farm Supply since 1999 as the Seed Department Manager and holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agronomy from the University of Wisconsin/River Falls. Bil was raised on a family farm near Easton, MN which he continues to live on and operate today. Before working at AFS, Bil gained several years of experience in seed, chemical, and fertilizer sales. Bil manages our AFS seed business as well as selling crop protection products.