Theodore Roosevelt was one of the most influential and iconic Presidents in the history of the United States — and he believed that he would not have reached the heights he did, had it not been for his time here, in the Badlands of North Dakota.
Enjoy these weekly podcast installments shared with permission from our friends at Prairie Public Broadcasting.
President Abraham Lincoln was a friend with Theodore Roosevelt’s parents. As a youngster at his grandfather’s house, young six-year-old “Teedie” (as he was called), witnessed Lincoln’s coffin procession along New York City’s Broadway.
Lincoln was TR’s presidential hero. Fittingly, these two venerated chief executives earned their destiny to be memorialized in stone, side by side on Mount Rushmore, representing two presidents unified in character and moral leadership.
We sat down with Railway Credit Union President, Paul Brucker to get his thoughts on what Medora has done for his company, creating a workplace people want to work at, and what he learned from his parents.
Paul, why join the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation Business Membership Program?
Being a patriotic ND based business, Railway Credit Union (RCU) initially joined the TR Medora Foundation because it seemed like the right thing to do.
It was not until later that we realized the benefits that the membership provided to our credit union members, staff, and volunteers.
It has been a great benefit to be able to send four folks to the musical every night throughout the season. We have also used the golf passes as a thank you to our credit union volunteers who enjoy golf.
How was the program received by your employees and customers?
Our employees, volunteers and members have all enjoyed the opportunity to attend the Medora Musical as a benefit of being a part of our credit union family as RCU is a member of the Foundation.
We have also hosted bus trips for our Senior Express Club at the credit union. It is always one of our most popular destinations and a great goodwill experience for being a part of our credit union’s Senior Express Club.
Any noticeable benefits?
Visiting Medora and attending the many wonderful events is like stepping back in time while getting back out in nature amidst the badlands. It is always a patriotic, refreshing and rewarding experience that everyone looks forward to while recharging their work & life batteries.
Now for a little more about Railway Credit Union. What should people know about RCU that they can’t find out on your website?
We are a financial family striving to build individual solutions for all of our members to lead them to achieve financial success while enriching their lives.
From what I’ve seen and heard, you have a great company culture. Why prioritize this?
We gotta hear a little about you personally. What’s the best lesson your parents taught you?
Honesty, Integrity, and hard work can carry you a long way in life.
Is there a set back in your life that set you up for your future success?
I had an issue with my hip that landed me in a wheelchair and on crutches for a year around 1st grade.
This threw me head first into adversity and social challenges, as I had to figure out how to deal with that and still try to be a normal kid. Fortunately, my hip healed over time, and I learned a lot about life through those lessons during the process.
What was it like to lead the merger with Genie-Watt Credit Union?
A business merger is like a marriage, you need a lot of upfront honesty, transparency, and hard work to make it work successfully. If things digress and you end up with an us vs them situation, trouble will soon follow.
We have been fortunate to have had many successful mergers that have greatly expanded RCU’s footprint in the Bismarck – Mandan area over that past 10 years.
This summer, we’ll share this conversation with over 300 seasonal employees from all over the world — many of them on the cusp of joining the workforce. Any advice?
Find something you enjoy doing or discover what is your life’s passion. Chase it hard through your education, then on into the work world. Once there, realize the only way to move forward in your career path is through honesty and a driven work ethic.
Go above and beyond the minimum requirements your job calls for. Realize there is no one there waiting to anoint you to the next coming executive. This is only achieved through what you bring to the table each and every day through hard work.
Thanks for taking the time to talk, Paul. If you want to learn more about becoming a Business Member like Railway Credit Union get ahold of Annual Giving Director, Daniel Gannarelli at email@example.com or 701.223.4800
Meet Annual Personal Members, Char and Duey Marthaller
With over 1,200 Annual Personal and Business Members, the Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation is a large family. So large that many of you may have never met another Annual Member.
As a “family that values family”, we can’t let this stand! Which is why we invite you to sit down and get to know Char and Duey Marthaller of Mandan, ND.
Besides being Annual Members since 2012, Char and Duey have shared their wood working talents on a number of Medora projects. Most recently they refurbished the Sheila Schafer Wishing Well in 2017 (pictured above).
Their passion for Medora inspires our staff of over 350 each and every summer. Get to know this wonderful couple below.
Auditions are coming up at the end of January, don’t miss your chance to star in the Greatest Show in the West, the Medora Musical! Performed live and outside 100 nights in a row this western musical complete with history, live animals, fireworks, and some good ‘ol downhome country music is a show unlike any other!
(Continuing with our peek into the correspondence files between Harold and Antoine “Tony” de Vallombrosa, grandson of the Marquis and Medora de Mores, after Harold had purchased the Marquis family’s holdings in Medora. Here’s an exchange of letters from 1963. Try to imagine Harold onstage as Teddy Roosevelt!)
February 24, 1963
Dear Friend Harold,
I cannot let the New Year in without sending you my best wishes as my past year’s trip to Bismarck and Medora was for me one of the highlights of 1962—it was greatly so thanks to you and your understanding.
Here I am thousands of miles away and yet frequently I think of you as the greatest optimist I have ever met. This was confirmed by reading very completely the 20th anniversary Gold Seal Report. (Harold had mailed Tony a copy of his company’s full-color 20th anniversary report.)
So whenever I feel depressed and need a good example I think to myself all I need is a little more will power.
I have been exercising plenty to get back in shape but the going is still rough—circulatory problems and varicose veins are difficult to eliminate.
I hope you are in good shape. I enjoyed visiting your horse ranch and your hospitality. I was sorry not to see your New York associates and expect to reach them next time. Knowing you are obviously continuously coming with new ideas and making constructive use of them, I would very much appreciate hearing more about your fabulous Gold Seal Co. Also if any major activities around Medora and the Badlands are being considered I would enjoy keeping up with what is going on. Hoping this long letter is not boring you. I feel again sorry not to have been able to personally thank all the very kind people I met in Bismarck.
Very sincerely, Antoine de Vallombrosa
June 13, 1963
Dear Friend Antoine,
I was in Medora and worked all day Monday this week. Among other things I find out that I own the original little home your grandfather lived in before he built the chateau. We got to checking and it has the old square nails on the siding and is still standing exactly where it was, on the north side of the Rough Riders Hotel. I am thinking of ripping off a few lean-to sheds that have been built on it and preserving it as a historical unit. (Note: eventually this building became the little white Bake Shop, which sat beside the old Rough Riders Hotel for many years, and has now been converted to a guest house just down the street to the south of the Hotel.)
The drama, Teddy Roosevelt’s Life in North Dakota, is starting the 26th of June in the Burning Hills Amphitheater. Please keep in mind our past conversation and some summer when you have nothing to do and want a little excitement, spend a few weeks with me in Medora – you play the part of your grandfather and I’ll play the part of Teddy Roosevelt, or one of the cattle rustlers – I think it would be fun. I gave your name to Mr. and Mrs. Andre Richard who plan to visit in France in the next week or two. Andre is the manager of our Andre Richard Division of the Gold Seal Company in New York City. If they happen to be anywhere near you, they may give you a call.
Women of Medora features inspiring women who have made an impact on the world through their time living and working in Medora.
Candice Lively Wollen, an Inspiring Woman
Candice Lively Wollan may be a Tennessee girl at heart, but North Dakotans have warmly claimed her as one of their own since she began performing as a Burning Hills Singer in the Medora Musical in 2009. (In fact, when the Musical rolled out a newly penned song about North Dakota in 2011, Candice was chosen to sing the ballad night after night—if every single North Dakotan who heard her sing “Always North Dakota” didn’t get a little choked up and want to invite her home for a hotdish dinner, then I don’t know what’s wrong with them…)
Show returns for the fourth season, tickets on sale now
Medora, ND) – The Theodore Roosevelt Medora Foundation announced today the return of fan-favorite show, A Magical Medora Christmas! This year the show will travel to four states performing 30 shows in 24 communities. A Magical Medora Christmas features past and present stars of the Medora Musical. Starring in this year’s tour is former host of the Medora Musical and “Queen of the West”, Emily Walter, Broadway stars Jared Mason, and Job Christenson, musician Chad Willow, and the host of the show, Bill Sorensen bringing the spirit of Christmas to audiences through his gift of humor, magic and love. Read More »