Repairs Surge pumps, clippers across U.S.
ALLENDORF – Combine a mind for anything mechanical and 60-plus years of experience with Holstein diary cows and the equipment used to milk them, and what do you get? A man like 78-year-old Charlie Eggink.
Eggink’s father came to the United Sates from the Netherlands at ag 18. He and his wife settled on 80 acres south east of Melvin, where they reared three sons and a daughter.The couple made their living running a small dairy operation.
Charlie Eggink learned much about dairying through his father and he found he had a knack for the mechanical side of farming.
He worked as a mechanic and truck driver at the station in Allendorf for many years. It was there he and his wife Leona, raised their children.
Although he was working a regular job Charlie still had his hand in the dairy business helping his father and brother who each had their own herds and he raised replacement heifers for his father.
In the early 1970s, Eggink took a job as maintenance supervisor at the International Paper factory in Sibley. He worked there for 23 years and said he learned much about people through a boss he had named Don Hall.
“Don always said, ‘You should always ask your people to do something first, you never tell them they have to. If you ask them twice and they don’t do it, well, that’s when something needs to be done about them.’
“I always found this to be true and in most cases that people will respect you and do what you suggest.” Eggink said. “Don was also a man of his word as well. I had great respect for him.”
A good work ethic is important to this northwest Iowa family. “I think working with the animals has given my children and grandchildren a good work ethic,” he said.
“We have always made raising and showing a family affair.Even today, my grandkids come to help the family prepare for the show.”
In 1948 Eggink’s father began showing their Holsteins in fairs in Osceola county and Clay county. Charlie began showing as a 4-H’er when he was 11.
“My family has not missed a Clay County Fair since 1954,” he said with pride.
He became a 4-H leader in 1958 and has been involved with the program in one form or another ever since. He has made 37 trips to Ak-sar-ben with as many as 35 kids, bringing six pickups pulling trailers of cattle.
“I can’t say I’ve ever had problems with the kids goofing off,” Eggink said. “There really isn’t time for it.We go with a purpose and they have to keep busy. They are generally too tired to mess around.”
Eggink said that working with young people is a passion of his.
“What we do for our kids today, will determine their tomorrow.” He said.
Eggink has been “retired” now since 1996, but retirement has not slowed him down. Though he has repaired and serviced milkers and pumps for small milking operations for many years the number of jobs has increased since his retirement.
He also repairs and services clippers for show people and professional livestock “fitters” through out the country.
“I service equipment from Washington state to Maryland,” he said.”My guess is that I serviced maybe 200 clippers last year.”
One of his most interesting jobs is servicing and finding new equipment for truckers who deliver dairy cattle across the country.
“Those cattle are milked in route on the semitrailer,” Eggink said.The truckers transport cattle from the East and West Coast to cattle buyers across the states.
Generators to run the milking machines are located on the truck bed, he said.
“They needed special equipment and services for their operation and I am able to meet them in route and help them out.”
Eggink has also built milking machines for small organic operations in the area and rebuilt cattle equipment for those milking dairy goats.
“I love working with people,” he said. “I have met and made so many friends through showing animals and my work.
“99.9 percent of the people I’ve met are real good. It’s all in how you treat them.”
Contact Robyn Kruger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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