The new falcon herald logo.
Feature Articles

Vern & Esther Kauffman

Vern and Esther Kauffman were among the original members of the Falcon Fire Department. They’ve lived in the Falcon area since 1974, and their contributions to the community are beyond fighting fires.Vern Kauffman was born in Goshen, Ind., to a Mennonite family who raised cows, pigs, chickens and various crops. From age 17 to age 21, he worked as an auto mechanic in Middlebury, Ind.Esther Jones was born in Goshen, Ind., to an Old Order Amish family. When she was age 10, her family moved to Baca County, Colo., for two years, hoping the dry Colorado air would clear her father’s tuberculosis. Jones loved living in Colorado, and said it was the happiest time of her childhood.The family moved back to Indiana, and, as is the custom in Amish families, Jones left school at 16 to work at home. As the second to the oldest of nine children, she helped her mother with the younger siblings.Kauffman and Jones met in 1961 and married in 1963. Young men were still required to register for the draft at that time, and, as a peace-loving Mennonite, Vern Kauffman registered as a conscientious objector. COs were given the opportunity to serve their country without serving in the military. Because of his background in farming, the Kauffmans chose to go to East Lansing, Mich., where Vern Kauffman served for two years doing research in the soil science department of Michigan State University. The Kauffman’s oldest son, Curtis, was born in Michigan.After they returned to Middlebury, Vern Kauffman worked as a mechanic for the Chevrolet dealership and later for his brother, Norman, who owned the local Shell station. The Kauffmans eventually bought Norman’s business, and Vern Kauffman ran the station from 1969 until 1972, when he left the Midwest for the west.They came to Colorado on a bet. Vern Kauffman’s brother-in-law, who was in Colorado at the time, bet Vern that he could find him a job in Colorado. Esther Kauffman had fond memories of Colorado, and she gave Vern her blessing to go with the bet. Vern Kauffman soon began work as a mechanic for Daniel’s Chevrolet in Colorado Springs, where he remained for a short time. Later, he worked for Pepsi in deliveries and route sales and then went to Green Thumb, where he’s spent 19 years. Today, he is a landscape manager.The Kauffmans grew weary of living in Colorado Springs and in 1974 moved to the Falcon area. All four of their children attended Falcon schools. During a short time they lived in Ellicott, where Lesa, their youngest, graduated.Esther Kauffman loved staying home and raising her children, though at timesshe said it was a tough job.Their second son, Darrell, became sick at age five months, and, although she took him to the doctor several times, his condition worsened. The doctor told her it was a cold. Eventually, another doctor diagnosed meningitis, but Darrell had suffered permanent brain damage, which left him with epilepsy and the inability tospeak.In 1980, Esther Kauffman started driving a bus for D 49. She drove for five years until becoming the acting secretary of dispatch and later a supervisor of transportation. From 1992 to 1993, she worked as a receptionist in the district’s front office, and then became a secretary at Falcon Middle School for more than nine years. During her middle-school years, the staff at the time may remember her annual home-cooked Christmas dinners. Esther Kauffman eventually went back to the district office as the receptionist, and that’s where she remains today.During their many years in Falcon, the Kauffmans, including their son Curtis, were active with the Falcon Fire Department. They were among the founding members 30 years ago and Vern Kauffman drove the fire truck to the first fire the organized department responded to. In his years with the fire department, Vern Kauffman served as EMT, in administration, as captain, assistant chief, deputy chief (then called “warden”), and finally served as chief for six years. Esther Kauffman served the fire department as EMT and secretary for six years.Both were active with the Falcon Fire Department Auxiliary also, supporting the fire department and raising funds. Initially volunteers went door to door; most people were generous, realizing what was at stake and how much they would benefit from a local fire department. While with the FFD Auxiliary, Vern Kauffman started Falcon Fun Days, an annual fundraiser that drew lots of local people. Highlights of the event included a big parade, a dunk tank, and an egg toss.The Kauffmans are very active in their church. They attended First Mennonite on the west side of Colorado Springs from 1972 to 1989 and have attended Beth-el Mennonite in Colorado Springs since 1989. They’re active with Mennonite Disaster Service and Mennonite Mutual Aid. Mennonite Disaster Service is a volunteer organization that sends members wherever a disaster occurs and the Kauffmans would like to be more hands-on with the organization after they retire.Every year the Kauffmans prepare a barbecue meal for the Mennonite Central Committee Relief Sale. They prepare barbecued pork, potato salad, and baked beans for approximately 350 people. The event, which is held every October in Rocky Ford, Colorado, allows members of the Mennonite Church in the Rocky Mountain Region to sell and auction things that they have made. Proceeds go to third world countries.The Kauffmans, who have now been married for 42 years, still speak the Pennsylvania Dutch language (a combination of English and German) while at home and with family. When asked if they felt that either of them had changed much since their marriage, they agreed that they are both still very much like the 18 and 20-year olds they were then.More on the KauffmansWhat are your plans for retirement?Become more active with the MDS, spend time traveling in our fifth wheel, be camp hosts somewhere, lots of volunteer work as long as health permits.What do you like to do when you have a big block of time?Esther – I love to quilt. I piece by machine and quilt by hand.What do you like to do when you have a tiny block of time?Esther – I like to read books that pertain to the Amish. I love Beverly Lewis, she’s not Amish herself, but her grandmother was. Her books are true to life.Any other hobbies?Esther – I just started flower arranging. Vern’s a big Bronco fan.Any favorite people?Vern – John Elway.Any pet peeves?Vern – People who have no patience. They have to have everything done now.How would you like to be remembered?Esther: kindness and community givingWith whom do you like to spend time?Family. Especially our grandkids. (The Kauffmans are known as Nana and Papa to their seven grandchildren, who range in age from seven months to 16 years old.)Where are your children now?Curtis and his wife Geri (Forster) and their four kids, Megan, Steven, Shellie, and Katelyn live in Colorado Springs. He’s a captain and paramedic for the Tri-Lakes/Woodmoor Fire Department, and Geri is a trauma nurse in the ER at Memorial Hospital. Darrell lives with a host family in Southfork, southeast of Falcon, and works at Goodwill Industries. Sharon and her husband, Jim Newton, and their son, Dominic, live in the Oasis subdivision on Falcon Highway. Jim works for Green Thumb, and Sharon is a senior accounting specialist at Aeroflex/UTMC. Lesa and her husband Joe Lyons, who is a sergeant at the state prison in Limon, live in Hugo, Colo., with their children, Madelon and Stormy LeAnn.How has Falcon changed?Well, when we first moved here it was a small community. You knew everybody.

StratusIQ Fiber Internet Falcon Advertisement

Current Weather

Weather Cams by StratusIQ

Search Advertisers