Traditionally, the World Day of Prayer takes place on the first Friday in March each year. This day is for women, men and children worldwide to join together in prayer and action for peace and justice.

Like many events over the past 16 months, this year’s World Day of Prayer was postponed in March due to the pandemic. At the direction of the International WDP, people were encouraged to meet when they felt that it was safe to gather in a larger group.

On Saturday, Aug. 7, the Kenyon area churches will meet at Gol Lutheran Church to continue this unique prayer service tradition. Coffee and muffins will be served from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m., with the program starting at 10 a.m. All people are encouraged to attend the time of fellowship and prayer.

The women of Vanuatu have written the 2021 WDP program and call participants to worship with the words “Build on a strong foundation.” The title of the service comes from Matthew 7:24-27.

Vanuatu is a small island nation in the South Pacific located east of Australia and north of New Zealand. The country, founded in 1980, is a collection of about 80 islands with over 300,000 citizens.

This year’s WDP offering is designated to support the victims of poverty, violence, and injustice in Vanuatu.

Gunderson House Garage and Collectible Sale

As part of the Rose Fest Celebration, the Kenyon Area Historical Society is holding a garage and collectible sale at the Gunderson House on Friday, Aug. 20 and Saturday, Aug. 21.

For people who wish to donate items for the sale, contact Bob Peterson at 507-458-6778 to arrange a time to drop off salable goods.

KAHS reserves the right to refuse donations if they do not appear to be a viable item for the sale.

Rohland Isker, a notable Kenyon alumnus

Herman Isker arrived in Kenyon in 1910 to serve as pastor of the Evangelical United Brethren Church. In 1914, Pastor Isker laid the cornerstone for the new EUB church, now known as the Kenyon United Methodist Church. Isker’s son, Rohland, had a more significant impact on Kenyon and the world.

During World War II, Rohland Isker was Commander of the Subsistence Laboratory in Chicago, Illinois. This laboratory was instrumental in developing c-rations for servicemen and women fighting on the front lines in various climates throughout the world.

Isker was born in Minneapolis and lived in the various communities where his father’s ministry took the family. When the family settled in Kenyon, Isker entered Kenyon High School as a junior and a 1912 Kenyon High School graduating class member. He then enrolled at Macalester College and later the University of Minnesota as a chemistry major. His Army career began in 1915 when he joined the National Guard and was called to active service in 1916 during the Great War. In the years between the two world wars, Isker remained on active duty with tours in various places worldwide. In 1939, he transferred to the Quartermaster Corps, which led to his appointment as Commander of the Subsistence Laboratory.

In previous wars, from Genghis Khan to the conflicts in the early part of the 20th century, armies lived off the land, often taking food from the residents of an occupied area. World War II was the first truly mobile war that did not allow armies to be fed traditionally. By 1941 the United States government realized an imperative need to support troops with rations, and Isker was given the task of developing a ration that armies on the move could eat. The first major assignment was to create an allocation that could fit into a paratrooper’s jacket with enough food to survive a few days until ground troops could assist them.

Returning to the University of Minnesota, Isker went to work with Ancel Keys, a nutritionist researching at the university. They went to a local grocery store, purchasing various foods that included hard biscuits, dried sausage, chocolate bars and hard candy. After doing trial tests at Fort Snelling, a stick of chewing gum, two cigarettes, matches and a few sheets of toilet paper were added to the rations. The second set of tests, done at Fort Benning, Georgia, proved to be successful to the point that the Army chose to order the emergency rations.

Wrigley Chewing Gum Co. in Chicago was tasked with packaging the easy-to-carry rations in wax-coated, waterproof boxes. The original intent of the rations was that they were to be used for two to three days until hot meals could be fixed.

The Army misused the rations by supplying them to servicemembers for up to 90 days, leading to troops disgruntled with the food. In 1944, more than 105 million rations were produced.

Shortly after World War II, Isker retired from the Army and formed The Associates, Food and Container Institute. The Institute’s purpose was to research and provide the safest and best quality food service to support the Armed Forces. The Institute’s name was later changed to the current Research and Development Associates for Military Food and Packaging Systems, Inc.

In 1996, 10 years after Isker passed away, the first Col. Isker Award was given to honor military personnel or government employees for contributions made to advance military food, packaging and equipment improvements. The award has been presented annually ever since.

Armed forces personnel during Shortly after World War II cannot be faulted for becoming upset with having to eat the same meals day after day. Research continued during the war to find more tasty, high calorie rations. These rations developed by a graduate of Kenyon High School had to be a significant factor in helping the Allies defeat the Axis powers of WWII.

Col. Isker is one of the many graduates of Kenyon High School who went on to make contributions that made a positive impact on our world.

Brown lawns

This summer’s cycle of numerous hot, dry days has saved some of us money and time since we do not have to buy gas for lawnmowers as frequently as we do some years. The weather has affected the neighborhood competition of whose lawn looks the best.

The University of Minnesota Extension service recommends that a typical residential Midwest lawn be maintained at the height of 3 inches or higher. The reasoning for this height is that taller grass shades out weed seeds and keeps the soil cooler. Taller grass will develop a more extended root system and be able to withstand periods of drought.

While growing up, I learned if the lawn is mowed at a higher setting, the grass will retain the moisture from the dew that forms overnight on the yard. This wisdom comes from a little-known horticulturalist, Orpha Anderson, my mother.

I often think of what Harmon Killebrew’s dad told his mother when she complained about their front lawn with huge bare spots caused by the boys playing on it. Killebrew’s dad said, “We are raising boys, not grass.”

Having a brown lawn is not the end of civilization. The good Kentucky bluegrass that makes up most of our yards is intended to go dormant during times of drought. It will once again be green when the rains come, and we complain about how often we have to mow the yard.

Kevin Anderson is a guest columnist for The Kenyon Leader.

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