The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

June 21, 2014

Brokenhearted, farmer donates $4M farm to 4-H

LAKEFIELD, Minn. — To a farmer there is no love like the love for his land. True for Curt Chergosky, until love landed him.

"We were surprised," says Jim Nesseth, a longtime friend of the third-generation farmer. "You know, Curt had never really dated anyone."

It was the talk of Lakefield, when pushing 50, one of Jackson County's most entrenched bachelor farmers fell for the newly-hired county 4-H coordinator.

Andrea Ruesch was a bubbly bundle of energy, still in her mid-30s, when she started her job in Jackson County.

As a member of the county fair board, Chergosky had plenty of opportunities to cross paths with Ruesch. As the months went on a spark was lit.

"Curt started coming into this office all the time — and we made fun of her so bad, but she didn't really get what was going on," laughs Brittany Koch, a former co-worker at the Jackson County extension office.

Or maybe Ruesch just wasn't letting on. It soon became clear to everyone who knew her, Ruesch's heart was aflutter too.

"Very googly-eyeded," laughs Koch.

The secret was out. The bachelor farmer and the 4-H lady were an item.

"The whole community was so happy," says Nesseth, and not just for Chergosky.

"Andrea was finally going to maybe slow down a little bit and give some time for herself and raise a family," Nesseth tells KARE-TV (http://kare11.tv/UFfBHd).

Ruesch was a tireless advocate for her 4-H kids. Chergosky loved that about her.

"I mean she thought the world of those kids," he says. "She'd do anything for them."

When he popped the question after seven months, the venue was no surprise. "I asked her in the parking lot of the extension office," he laughs. "And she said 'yes.'

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