Don Orth of Olivia has been called a number of things in his life.
From bank manager (retired) and volunteer to musician and family man, people know Orth based on the many hats he wears.
However, many others know him for his prolific work as an author.
With 10 books published, Orth has addressed varied topics from people to humor, and recently he has published book number 11 entitled “Prairie Miracles: How God Works in Our Lives.”
The book carries on the tradition of telling stories of people and events from the area.
“I try to tell stories of different people in each book,” said Orth.
Orth talked about the most recently published piece now available for purchase.
The series of books started in 2008, said Orth, adding he has done a book per year since then. The books, said Orth, provide a way for people to learn more about the interesting people, places and history of the area.
Dedicated to the Renville County Hospital and Clinics and its employees, the “Prairie Miracles” begins with several pages focused on the Olivia medical facility.
A 1962 graduate of Redwood Falls High School, Orth said he enjoys the chance to let people know about the great things and great people who live in the place he calls home.
“I spent my first 20 years in Redwood Falls,” said Orth, adding even though he has spent a lifetime in this area he is still getting to know people he has never met and others are getting to know him.
Orth said the books have been written not just with today in mind.
“I want to help create a history of the area, so that 50-100 years from now people can see what it was like to live here,” said Orth.
The most recent book is faith-based, said Orth, adding he not only helps to define what a miracle is in the book he provides many examples that have happened in this area. While not all of his books are solely focused on faith, Orth said it is an important element in his writing.
His most recent book is the second focused specifically on the spiritual side of life. A book about angels Orth wrote was such a success he wanted to write another faith-based book.
Having retired from his role at HomeTown Bank, Orth can focus more of his time on his writing and his efforts to help make the world a better place.
All of the proceeds from the books he writes are used to help cover the costs of medical expenses for children who are facing significant medical issues due to illness or an accident.
"The books are a fundraiser for the Orth Foundation,” he said.
The Orth Foundation has been in existence since the 1990s, which is when Orth’s son, Tim, was diagnosed with and later died as a result of inoperable brain tumor. Over the years funds in the millions of dollars have been raised and given to people in need.
Orth said a book like “Prairie Miracles” does not just happen by the efforts of one person. He specifically credits Rick Vogt, who created the art work within the pages of the book, and Laura Peterson of Lakeside Press, for her assistance with the design of the book.
Orth said this most recent one may be his best yet.
Orth is taking care of the marketing. There are a number of locations in Olivia, including Master’s Coffee Shop, HomeTown Bank, Chatterbox Cafe and Thrifty White, to find a copy. Of course, Orth added he never goes anywhere without a few copies in the trunk.
All 11 of Orth’s books remain in print, and one can contact him to find out how to get copies of any of those books. Typically, a $20 donation is asked for each book, with a few extra dollars requested if the book needs to be mailed.
“We don’t make money on the books,” said Orth, adding it never has been about the money but about helping others and inspiring people.
Orth said while he continues to talk with people about the most recent book, he has also started work on book number 12, which he hopes to have available next fall.
More than anything, Orth just hopes people enjoy the book and its stories, and he hopes it provides a way for people to learn more about the people in the Renville, Redwood and Kandiyohi counties helping to create a greater sense of community – all the while supporting a good cause.
Photo Courtesy of the Don Orth Facebook Page