A few miles outside of Valley City, N.D., where the sun-kissed fields of gold meet the wind-swept blades of grass, you’ll find a long, narrow, gravel road that weaves its way to a farmhouse, where John Froelich, Cass County Electric Cooperative, District 1 Director, lives. Froelich describes his “perfect morning” as waking up in his farmhouse and sitting at the kitchen table with a bowl of Raisin Bran, his a cup of hot coffee in one hand, and the daily newspaper scrolling on his iPad in is other.
Growing up and living on a farm and ranch, Froelich embodies the definition of a hard worker, from working dawn until dusk in 2,000 acres of wheat, corn, and sunflowers to at one point managing a herd of 400 cattle roaming the pasture, including 100 registered Angus cows.
Froelich farmed for 35 years until 1998 when he retired. Though Froelich is retired, he still plays
essential roles in the surrounding communities.
When he is not busy with those jobs, he volunteers his time as a bell ringer for the Salvation Army, delivers meals to the elderly, and he manages the cemetery near his house in Valley City. In 2008, Froelich was elected as a Barnes County commissioner and still holds the position.
He also holds the portfolio for numerous departments and boards for Barnes County.
When the sun is shining and the ground is dry, Froelich hops onto his lawnmower and drives one mile up the road to the cemetery in hopes of keeping it pristine.“When I first started mowing it, I was paid $125 to mow three times a year. Now, I do it for free,” Froelich said.
Froelich is not in it for the money. He keeps the cemetery in excellent condition because of his grandparents, parents, sisters, and
his first wife Jan are all buried there - it’s his way of paying tribute to them. Someday, he will be buried in the same cemetery next to Jan.
Froelich has experienced many adventures throughout his life, one being enlisted in the North Dakota Air National Guard Happy Hooligans for six years. During his time in the guard, he was a weapons mechanic and loaded rockets onto airplanes.
The main goal of those airplanes was to stop the Russian heavy bombers from coming over the North Pole. When asked why he enjoys being a board member, Froelich says looking to the future and remembering the past helps him provide the best possible service to the members. As a 24-year Cass County Electric Cooperative director, he cares about his neighbors, his community and the members he has yet to meet.
When I first started mowing the cemetery, I was paid $125 to mow three times a year. Now, I do it for free.Director Froelich