Donna Fuchs: 36 years of reliability at the HP office in Devils Lake

Mike Bellmore, Features Editor
Donna Fuchs

Donna Fuchs could have retired four years ago as an Administrative Assistant with the Devils Lake Highway Patrol office in Devils Lake.

But she’s not ready to go yet. And her boss, Captain Kyle Ternes, certainly doesn’t want her to leave.

“Our standing joke around here is that she can’t leave until I?do,” says Ternes, who holds the  36-year veteran in high esteem.

“She’s so efficient and reliable. We’re fortunate to have someone of her caliber around here. She just keeps things flowing so well for us.”

Fuchs began her 36th year at the office in early May of this year.

She began when the Highway Patrol still headquartered in the Law Enforcement Center.

That’s where she met her husband, Jim, who was a part of the Devils Lake Police Department at the time.

“A job opened up with the Patrol, I applied and I got it,” says Fuchs. “And I’ve been here ever since.”

She does a lot of paperwork for the office and a lot of computer work with accident reports now being downloaded by officers.

Fuchs also works on filing and answers the telephone.

She’s a 1969 graduate of Devils Lake High School and worked on a farm with dairy cows in her earlier years, Cox’s Bakery and a Hallmark Gift Card Shop at the Holiday Mall.

But the job she’s got now, she readily admits, is the best by far.

“The people are all so professional,” she adds. “The guys treat me so well and we all get to know each other.”

“There’s really a trend toward younger guys now. I think we’ve got four or five under 30 years old.”

Fuchs and her husband, who  has been disabled for 14 years, raised a son, Jeff, who is married.

He and his wife, Jessica, have a four-year-old son, Garret, with another child on the way. They both teach at Four Winds High School.

During all her years at the office, there has been only one instance of trouble or violence.

Jerry Seeklander, a former patrolman here, was shot by an assailant during a traffic stop in the Cando area years ago.

That’s when the Patrol office was still located at the Law Enforcement Center.

She said Seeklander recovered from his injuries and for the most part, her job has been quiet and peaceful.

But she knows there is always a threat of sorts in law enforcement.

“Generally speaking, it’s pretty peaceful around here,” added Fuchs.

There’s currently a captain, a couple of sargeants and five troopers working out of the Devils Lake office.