The year was 1958 when 6-foot-3-inch Odin Langen, a farmer from Kittson County in the extreme northwestern section of Minnesota, was elected to Congress.
When passing through Fergus Falls and other communities, Odin made his presence known.
He campaigned with the theme, “a big man for a man-sized job.” This theme worked for Odin, a Republican, who was elected to six terms.
“He was a down-to-earth guy and friendly to everyone,” said the late Mayo Harthun who operated a service station near the southwest corner of Union and Lincoln in downtown Fergus Falls.
Langen’s first election bid for Congress was probably his most memorable one.
Odin’s opponent in 1958 was DFLer Coya Knutson. Her husband, Andy, wrote a letter to Coya that was leaked to the news media. It read, “Coya come home,” asking his wife to leave office.
Coya never recovered and Odin was elected to his first term. Fergus Falls voters gave Langen strong support when he sought reelection five times, winning them all.
After arriving in Washington, D.C., Odin served on committees dealing with agriculture and appropriations.
A Seventh District Republican Party employee in Minnesota during those days, who knew Langen very well, was Al Seltz. He later headed public relations and wrote the annual report for Otter Tail Power Company.
In 1968 I covered Langen’s reelection as a student at Moorhead State College, now MSU, Moorhead. Odin had a tough opponent in rural Roseau farmer Bob Bergland who Langen defeated.
As Mass Communications students, we worked election night and compiled an “Election Morning Extra.” Our coordinator was the legendary Moorhead State journalism instructor Howard Binford.
The stage was set for Bergland who ran against Odin again in 1970 and this time defeated Langen who had served 12 years as a Congressman.
In 1976 Bergland left Congress to serve as U.S. Secretary of Agriculture for President Jimmy Carter.
As for Odin, he later worked as an administrator for the U.S. Packers and Stockyards Administration, a branch of the USDA. After two years he returned to his farm in Kittson County.
Odin was only 63 when he died in 1976. He left behind a wife and three children.
A salute to Myron Broschat
The late Myron Broschat was honored Nov. 12, when Veterans Day was recognized during a performance by the Fergus Falls Concert Association.
Broschat, a decorated World War II veteran and military historian, was a 40-year board member of the concert association.
“Myron was the glue that held us together,” said board president Jeanne Jensen. “He was instrumental to the 80-year success of our organization.”
Myron, manager of electric transmission for Otter Tail Power Company, was proud to give back as a member of the concert association, county historical society, VFW and Disabled American Veterans.
‘Stop the Bleed’ campaign stretches across the nation
“Stop the Bleed” is an effort, nationwide, to train civilians to be first responders in life-threatening scenarios such as mass shootings.
Health professionals teach the basic techniques of bleeding control, including how to properly apply a tourniquet, pack a wound with gauze and hold pressure over a wound.
Even kids in schools are given bleeding kits which are packages that include tourniquets, gauze and chest seal. People in different parts of the nation teach the kids how to use these items.
This is in response to shootings with firearms such as AR-15 rifle blasts, causing many victims to bleed out before rescue workers can reach them.
The bullet from an AR-15 might miss an artery in the leg, but cavitation may burst the artery anyway, causing death by blood loss. That’s one reason the “Stop the Bleed” campaign is so important.
Doctors across the country are pushing for people to learn how to stop the bleeding before first responders arrive.
This effort to save lives is commendable, but sad since mass shootings are becoming more commonplace.
Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.