Connecting people through the power of history and culture

Eva Kritzeck (1955-) Eva Kritzeck was born in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico. Her father petitioned for permanent U.S. residency for Kritzeck when she was 12 years old. She received her greencard in 1967. While working for Brown Bovari Mexicana in Mexico, Kritzeck met and married her husband, Joe Kritzeck, who worked for the same company. They came to the United States in 1981. She started working at a “temp” service, then at Fingerhut where she was the only non-English speaking person in her department. Although she learned to speak English in school, in Mexico, she said she often sat and cried because of her inability to speak fluent English. In 1985, she landed a job working evenings at Cash Wise, but it, too, was difficult—one day, “a man and a woman yelled at me for taking someone else’s job and called me a ‘wetback.’” From there, she moved to School District 742 where she advanced quickly from assistant to special education to secretary in community education where she met other people who spoke English as a second language and realized that language barriers they all faced. This realization eventually led Kritzeck to become interpreter for Spanish-speaking people in the St. Cloud Area. She has done interpreting in medical settings, for social services, for private attorneys, and other community and private organizations that request her services, sometimes by email or by telephone. As an employee at St. Cloud Legal Services, she helps Spanish-speaking clients obtain access to legal services. Through her work with Minnesota Care, she connected with Case Guadalupe in Cold Spring where she was able to help a large number of residents with interpretation and applications. Kritzeck said when she came to America, she did not know where to go for help. Now she wants to help others in the community. She became an American citizen in 1995. In 2004, Kritzeck was recognized for her work in the community by Mayor Ellenbecker. He presented her with a High-Five Community Award. She served on the United Way project, Catholic Charities Board, the Health Subcommittee for Create CommUNITY, participated as a panelist in Multicultural Workshops, testified before state legislature about the MNCare project, participated in a Children of Multicultural Committee, as well as numerous outreach programs in the area. In her spare time Kritzeck enjoys bicycling and quiet moments at home with her husband and sons.

Mary Y. Tatum Howard Mary Howard retired  psychologist at the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center, has led a full and productive life. She has a true love of learning and pursued degrees at higher education at several universities. She earned a Bachelor’s degree at West Virginia State College (now University), a Master’s degree at the University of Missouri and a doctorate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Mary has taught and held positions at a number of schools and places beginning with teaching second grade in Kansas City, Kansas. She completed her Master’s degree and taught at Tennessee State College in Nashville and at Milles College in Birmingham, Alabama. After achieving her doctorate she became the director of psychology services at the Kenny Institute in Minneapolis. She has been the director of a Counseling Center in Washington, D.C., Dean of Kearney Campus of Mercer County Community College of Trenton, New Jersey and Associate Director of Middle States Association out of Philadelphia. She came to St. Cloud because she likes the Midwest and, fortunately, the Veteran Medical Center had a position for a psychologist available. Mary found this position rewarding and satisfying. In 1983 Mary co-founded the local NAACP branch and, later had, in her words, “the audacity to run for public office.” She experienced many vicious anonymous comments in the St. Cloud Times internet, many of which had racial overtones. Mary is the first African American who was courageous enough to challenge the white power structure in St. Cloud. She did win one election, that of being on the St. Cloud School Board. This victory, she believes, attests to the thoughtfulness and moral and political conscience of many Caucasians and African Americans, and others, in the area. She has experienced racial prejudice when running for public office, and in some encounters with the police. She notes that the prejudice has become less and she hopes for better relationships amongst all racial and ethnic groups in St. Cloud. Mary retired in St. Cloud. Some of her friends find it hard to understand how Mary, who has lived in many large cities in the United States, can settle in the small city of St. Cloud. However, after visiting her, they find themselves thinking that they, too, might enjoy living here.

Nancy Harles Nancy Harles, an American Indian, was born in White River, Ontario, Canada, in her words, “many moons’’ ago. She received her elementary and high school education in Schreiber, Ontario. She married Harley Harles and they have three sons, Randy, Sanford, and Jay. Nancy always knew the value of a higher education, so after raising her sons she went back to school as an older student. She attended Sisseton Wahpeton Community College in Old Agency, South Dakota, where she received an Associates of Arts degree. She received her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, her Master’s degree at Tri College in Fargo, North Dakota, and her Ph.D. degree at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. This enterprising woman, who has been the victim of racial prejudice both in life and work, has dedicated her life to educating American Indian youth, and being a voice for them. Her positions have all been in places where she could be of service to people of her race. Nancy has been the Director of Communications at Sisseton Wahpeton Community College, a researcher at the Center for Rural Health and the Director of the Recruitment of American Indians into the nursing program, both positions at the University of North Dakota. In Minnesota she has been the professor and Director of American Indian Cultural Center at the St. Cloud State University and the Executive Director of the St. Cloud Area American Indian Center. For the past three years she has been the Indian Education Specialist at the Onamia Public School, a forty-five minute commute from her home in St. Cloud. In this position she tutors, consults and mentors all of the Indian students in the school. This job enables her to work directly with Indian students to ensure academic success. Without her help many would fail their classes and drop out of school. Nancy knows her culture, is very proud of it, and practices many of its traditions. She lives and works in two worlds, that of the American Indian and that of the white person. This she finds to be very challenging at times.