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Assistant City Clerk job means a big change of pace for deWaal

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Feb. 18, 2022

HARTINGTON — Daniellah “Dani” de Waal prefers being busy more than being bored, and her new job has plenty of work to keep her occupied.

The 23-year-old has been working as the full-time deputy clerk for the city of Hartington since Jan. 3.

“The idea of being in an office really kind of interested me,” de Waal said. “I just wanted to become more involved with the community and what better way than to work for the city.”

She had spent the previous three years working full time at Carhart Lumber in Hartington, first in retail sales and then cabinet design and sales, the latter of which she still does on a part-time basis.

“Overall, I just wanted a change in perspective and a change in what I was doing,” de Waal said. “I enjoy what I’m doing. They’re keeping me busier. “There was some downtime at Carhart and some

“There was some downtime at Carhart and sometimes it wasn’t always fun having to wait for a customer to come in,” she said.

She noted working for the city has meant dealing with a lot of paperwork, including billing statements, and research for reports, which she has found interesting.

“It just keeps me busy,” de Waal said. “It’s something different than what I’ve been doing for the last three years.

“I guess I always enjoyed research papers in high school,” she said. “It wasn’t anything I ever hated.”

Her duties include researching information for reports, sorting the city’s mail, handling utility bills, sending out monthly billing statements, and attending and recording City Council meetings along with City Clerk Natalie Schaecher.

Working for the city also has allowed de Waal to learn more about the Cedar County seat community and the area.

She is not originally from Hartington, or the United States. She is a native of the country of South Africa.

Her family immigrated to the U.S. in 2006 – when de Waal was 7 – for various reasons, from what she could recall.

“I know education was one of them,” de Waal said. “Our safety was another thing. I know there was just a lot of violence my parents didn’t want us to be a part of.

“I can remember when we would get back from school, there were times that there would be a window broken or a door kicked in,” she said. “Somebody had obviously broken into the house.”

Her family first lived in Bowman, N.D., for about a year and a half and then moved to Dakota Dunes, S.D.

Her parents, older brother and younger brother moved back to South Africa in 2019. “My parents were just looking

“My parents were just looking for change and kind of ready to go back,” de Waal said. “They didn’t grow up here, so it was kind of difficult for them to be here.

“We were all done with high school when they decided to move back,” she said. “There really wasn’t anything keeping them tied here anymore.”

However, she said she is much more at home in the United States, especially the Upper Midwest, than she would be back in South Africa.

“I would like to visit,” de Waal said of her native country. “I don’t think I would ever go back and move. America’s home. I know more about the history of the U.S. than the history of South Africa.”

She learned about U.S. history and other subjects at Dakota Valley High School in North Sioux City, S.D., where she graduated from in December 2016.

Since 2017, de Waal has lived in Cedar County, first in Laurel for about two years and then in Hartington for about the past three years. In April 2018, she ended up in

In April 2018, she ended up in Hartington, thanks to connecting with Derek Klug, who owns and operates Broadway Lanes, and became a bartender at the downtown bowling alley.

“Working at the bar, I did get to know quite a few people,” de Waal said. “I recognize a lot of people; they recognize me.”

She still works part time at Broadway Lanes, handling event and employee scheduling and tending the bar during the bowling season, and bowls in a women’s league.

During the past two years, de Waal has been involved in two remodeling projects at the bowling alley.

She also has brought several ideas to Broadway Lanes, such as ladies’ nights and fish frys, to attract more people to the bowling alley.

On Jan. 30, de Waal became even more involved in the community by joining the Hartington Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.

In addition to having three jobs and volunteering her time with the Chamber, she has been a part-time student at Northeast Community College in Norfolk since the fall of 2017. “I tried to go to the campus and

“I tried to go to the campus and take classes there, but it conflicted a lot with what I was doing,” de Waal said. “Online classes just kind of work well with my schedule.”