Face to Face: Tonganoxie 4-H leader Gretchen Manus
Name: Gretchen Manus
Born: Louisville, Ky.
Family: Three children, Samuel; 13, Benjamin, 11, and Isaiah, 7; two brothers, Clint and Will, both in Iowa; and brother, Clay, and sister, Jennifer, both in Indiana.
Occupation: Manus is a retired Army officer. She also is a substitute teacher in Tonganoxie USD 464.
Dream job as a child: Veterinarian
Interesting fact: Manus and her family live in a barn. The family lives in the top area of the barn and the ground level still serves as a traditional barn.
“It makes it easy to do chores,” Manus joked.
Digging deeper: Manus graduated in 1987 from Culver Community High School in Culver, Ind. She attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., for a year before heading to West Point, N.Y., and the U.S. Military Academy.
She earned a bachelor’s in geography from the United States Military Academy in 1992 with a civil engineering track.
Manus then served in the military for more than 20 years as an Army adjutant general corps officer.
“Human resources in civilian speak,” Manus said.
Manus was stationed at several forts, including Fort Drum, N.Y., Fort Jackson, S.C., Fort Polk, La., and Fort Sill, Okla. Internationally, she served in Korea and Haiti.
She finished her military career at Fort Leavenworth. There was an opportunity to live closer to family, as her father grew up in Kansas.
The family moved to the Tonganoxie area in 2012 and has been heavily involved in 4-H. The Manus family is in the Reno Bobwhite 4-H Club and the Leavenworth County Youth Leaders. Gretchen also is an adult co-leader for the youth organization.
On the Manus farm, there are horses, chickens, turkeys, cows, rabbits and even a couple of buffalo. They soon will have sheep, as Isaiah would like to show the animal in 4-H.
“Between 4-H and school activities and the farm stuff, we are not bored,” Manus said with a laugh. “I was raised on a farm. I always wanted to come back to the farm and I certainly think it’s a great way to raise kids.”
Making that home in rural Tonganoxie has been a good move, Manus said.
“We love it,” she said. “I’m very pleased with the schools. We like the people here.”