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Banker honored as ‘NW Iowa’s Friend of Extension’

By Staff | Nov 10, 2008

Farm News staff writer

ROLFE — Born and reared in the Rolfe area, Bill Winkleblack goes above and beyond life as president of the Rolfe State Bank, husband and father.

Because of his leadership and involvement in local committees and programs, Winkleblack has been chosen as the 2008 Friend of Iowa State University Extension for Northwest Iowa.

Nancy Jenson, Pocahontas County Extension education director said Winkleblack was chosen for the Friend of Extension award for the 20 counties in northwest Iowa, after she nominated him.

“He has been an Extension supporter for many years as we have worked through farm crisis issues, started the economic development commission in Pocahontas County, and most recently the dairy recruitment project,” Jenson said. “He has also supported the Pocahontas County Fair and 4-H event for many years.”

Other Extension staff also worked with Winkleblack on the dairy project and supported his nomination. He spent hundreds of hours in support of the dairy project and was a significant influence in the success of the dairy family from the Netherlands, who moved here and built a dairy operation this year.

Winkleblack, who has been a lifelong resident of Rolfe and Pocahontas County, said before becoming the president of Rolfe State Bank, where he has been employed for almost 25 years, he was employed with his family’ business when they owned and operated the local John Deere dealership.

Winkleblack and his wife Jeanette are the parents of three daughters, Jenny, Krista and Ashley. According to Extension, although he is involved with so many outside activities and committees, family is still very important to Winkleblack and he is also a highly visible parent at all school and church events.

Winkleblack said he has been a long time ISU Extension supporter and finds it easy to speak on behalf of Extension.

“Extension is heavily involved with Pocahontas County through the economic development commission,” said Winkleblack. “Extension is more than 4-H and county fairs. They provide an awful lot of service in business and economic issues than people realize.”

When it comes to being involved in dozens of committees and activities, Winkleblack said his wife would say he’s a “busy body.”

“You have to be involved in those things,” said Winkleblack. “For example Pocahontas County is only made up of 8,000 people. I feel a responsibility to be a part of these things.”

Winkleblack also encourages others to get involved.

“My advice would be to tell them you have to be involved. You can’t just be a paying member; it takes bodies to be involved hands-on. You need to be involved and to be an active participant,” he said.

Winkleblack’s activities include:

? Chairing the Pocahontas County Economic Development Commission.

? Board member of the Pocahontas County Foundation.

? Chairing the Pocahontas Hospital Foundation Board.

? Chairing the county Value Added Agriculture and Dairy Committee.

? Board president of the Pocahontas Area Community School Foundation.

? Pocahontas County Solid Waste Commission member.

? Rolfe Area Market Board.

? Rolfe Betterment Inc.

? Lions Club member.

? Supporting the transition of the closed school gym into the RAM events center that is used for school basketball practice and many community events.

? Playing a major role in the Vision Iowa grant and construction of the Rolfe Community Center.

? Past school board member;.

? Lay director of St. Margaret’s Catholic Church.

? Advisor to the trailhead project in Rolfe.

? Purchasing a building and remodeling it for the city’s recycling center.

Contact Kriss Nelson at jknelson@frontiernet.net.

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