by Shawn Marie Brummer, Communications Specialist
Rollie Steck was just beginning elementary school when his father accepted a job as the manager of Newton Hills State Park, located just south of the city of Canton, South Dakota. Canton could be described as a quaint old town; it was established in 1881, sits about 20 miles south of Sioux Falls, with the rolling hills of the Sioux Valley and the Big Sioux River setting the scenery.
The Steck family, including father, mother, Rollie, and younger brother Orrin, moved into the house inside of Newton Hills State Park. While his childhood was happy, it was not always easy due to some complicated health issues. By the time he graduated from high school, Rollie had five open heart surgeries. However, he says the difficult challenges provided him with the determination and skills to overcome both personal and professional issues.
During the school year, Rollie rode the bus into Canton to attend school, where he played the clarinet in band starting in the fifth grade and continuing through high school. He worked at the Canton Pizza Ranch, was active with the youth group at his church, and even made several mission trips to Boston and Jamaica. He was also in the theater club (played Ho-Jon in their production of M.A.S.H), and was a leader on the varsity golf team, attending the state golf championship in his junior year. Some of his fondest memories are of long summer days spent practicing at the Canton Golf Course.
After graduating from high school, Rollie attended Augustana College (now Augustana University) where he studied accounting. He continued to be involved with the church, organizing all-night “lock ins” for youth at Augustana Chapel, and was on the Ultimate Frisbee Team, traveling around the Midwest for tournaments. During his junior year, from necessity, he discovered a talent for cooking. Since he and his friends didn’t have the budget for a college meal plan, they started cooking meals for themselves and others right in the dorm. His cooking skills were noticed to the point that he was even asked to teach a couple of cooking classes for the Augustana Women’s Association!
After receiving his B.A. in Accounting, Rollie started working the 2:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. shift at the Citibank Call Center in Sioux Falls. Six months later in 2012, he landed his first job as a Member Service Representative (MSR) at Sioux Empire Federal Credit Union (recently rebranded as Bluestone Federal Credit Union). During this time, he was able to continue his “love of theater” by dressing up as Pee Wee Penguin and standing on a busy street to advertise the latest loan promotion.
After just one year as an MSR, Rollie was offered a job more in line with his education, and he spent the next two years working in accounting at the Good Samaritan Society. However, he continued his connection at the credit union by serving on the Supervisory Committee. Then, in 2015, he was asked to apply for a position in the accounting department at Bluestone FCU – and the rest is history.
Now, after six years, Rollie says he enjoys working for a financial institution that values the mission of the cooperative principles and the “people helping people” philosophy.
“I enjoy that I get to work in organization that truly values the commitment to our members,” he stated. “Even though, working in accounting, I do not have much direct interaction with our members, I feel good that my work is benefiting the credit union movement and our members. It brings satisfaction to me when I can help solve an error on a members account. Whether it is digging deep into the details or just an easy fix for our member, it is always rewarding,” he added.
On an average day, Rollie’s responsibilities range from day-to-day accounting activities, to funding mortgages for the CU Mortgage Direct CUSO, to reconciling escrow accounts, researching account questions for members, and month-end reconciliation work for both the credit union and CU Mortgage Direct.
In addition to his “normal” job duties, Rollie is a member of Bluestone’s Care Committee, which volunteers for many local service projects including Adopt-A-Highway, The Banquet, and the Feeding South Dakota Backpack Program, just to name a few.
He is especially proud of his work in the Care Committee, where he was instrumental in forming Bluestone FCU’s relationship with the Family Visitation Center in Sioux Falls, which provides safe supervised visitations and safe exchanges for the parents of separated families. Over the years, he has helped to organize many toy and snack drives, where credit union members and staff donate items that are needed at the center.
Outside of the credit union, he continues to volunteer his time and talents. He has delivered for the Meals on Wheels program and is the Secretary and Board Member for the Carnegie Center for the Arts in Canton. He not only takes meeting notes – he helps “load-in” the bands and other performing acts when they host a show, takes tickets at the box office, and even helps run the sound and light boards.
In his personal life, Rollie has been married to his lovely wife, Hannah, since 2013. The two met in college, started dating when they graduated in 2011, then married and lived in Sioux Falls for a few years. In 2015, they bought a “fixer upper” house in Canton, which was built in 1908. Since then, they have invested many sweat equity hours, and made numerous trips to the Canton Municipal Rubble Site. Happily, they (and their neighbors) can definitely see the improvements that have been made to both the house and the yard.
In their free time, the couple enjoys hiking at Newton Hills State Park, visiting wineries and craft breweries, or just strolling around the town of Canton. They also enjoy taking in the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra and Broadway Performances at the Washington Pavilion, as well as just spending time with friends, family, and their three cats: Grey, Yang and Karev. (Yes, they are also huge fans of Grey’s Anatomy.)
They continue to make improvements to their garden, making frequent trips to greenhouses to find new plants, and Rollie still enjoys putting his cooking talents on display, especially in grilling and smoking food. Finally, Rollie is the “man on the scene” for the Canton City Government and writes the reports for the local newspaper in Canton, the Sioux Valley News.
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