Lucking excels for Class of 1967 [UPDATED]Published 6:24am Monday, March 18, 2013 Updated 8:29am Monday, March 18, 2013
Those of us who graduated from Fergus Falls High School in the mid-1960s knew that a few fellow students would excel far more than other honor roll graduates. Among this select group is Laurie Lucking who graduated from FFHS in 1967.
Lucking recently retired after 24 years of service as a civilian with the U.S. Army. For the last 17 years she was the Cultural Resources Program manager for U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii, at Schofield Barracks.
Upon her retirement she was awarded the Meritorious Civilian Service Medal (MCS) by Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, the Installation Management Commander (IMCOM). Lucking was given the award for her management of one of the most complex and challenging cultural resources programs in the United States Army.
The MCS is the second highest award given to civilians by the U.S. Army and is comparable to the Legion of Merit.
Her attainment of this award doesn’t surprise former classmates and her former teachers at Fergus Falls High School.
“Laurie was a student who would take on a project and get things done,” said retiree Dale Ruehle of Battle Lake who was Lucking’s senior social studies teacher at Fergus Falls High School.
The award reads, “Through extraordinary devotion to duty and many personal sacrifices, she was able to successfully tackle highly controversial environmental issues to ensure the Army in Hawaii could execute its mission and readiness initiatives.”
I’m happy not only for Laurie but also for her proud father, Mike Lucking, who I worked with at the Daily Journal in the 1970s.
Before his retirement, Mike served as composing room foreman. He was among a distinguished group of newspaper employees who worked in the days of linotypes and letterpress, prior to the days of offset newspapers that took hold in the early 1970s. He is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War, retiring after 29 years in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Laurie’s mother, the late Jeanette Lucking, also would be extremely proud.
After her graduation from Fergus Falls High School, Lucking received her B.A. from what was then Moorhead State University (now MSU, Moorhead), and M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Minnesota in the early 1970s. Her degree has an emphasis in archaeology and her minor was in botany/ecology.
Lucking performed fieldwork in Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Palau and the American Northeast and Midwest. She worked with the St. Paul District Army Corps of Engineers as a federal intern in 1978.
Subsequently, she worked for the St. Paul District Army Corps of Engineers, the Honolulu Engineer Division Army Corps of Engineers, and was president of a private cultural resources contracting firm, Cultural Impact Analysis, Inc. before joining the U.S. Army Garrison, Hawaii.
While employed by the St. Paul District, Lucking worked closely with members of the Ojibwa and Dakota communities in Minnesota and Wisconsin to change state law in Minnesota to allow human remains to be reburied in the mound from which they had been excavated.
She also shared her talents with the Otter Tail County Historical Society. One noteworthy project was her work and leadership during a Native American archaeological study at Walker Lake, near the northeast side of Otter Tail Lake.
For the past 17 years her scope of responsibility included leading one of the largest cultural resources programs in the Army. It encompassed oversight and management of over 1,200 archaeological sites and 800 historic buildings on two islands, Oahu and the Island of Hawaii.
During this period, Lucking was credited for establishing a benchmark program and growing it from one person to a staff of nearly 30. She established cooperative agreements through the Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii, the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands, and the U.S. Army Medical Research Acquisition Activity. This saved the Army over $1 million annually in traditional contract support costs over a 10-year period.
“She put the Army and its mission first and foremost in her life,” said Ferriter, “epitomizing the values of loyalty, duty and selfless service.”
While growing up in Fergus Falls, Lucking learned from her parents about hard work, thrift and other values. Those attributes served her well as an adult.
Well done for the FFHS grad from 1967.