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Verl-Delphos Friendship Link adds a generation PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, February 05, 2014 9:00 PM


Herald Editor

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Verl, Germany —The Verl-Delphos Friendship Link has begun its third generation with the birth of Frithjof and Christine Meissner’s first grandchild, Marie Meissner.

Frithjof is the president of the Verl-Delphos Friendship Link for the German side. His son, Christian, and his wife, Katharina, welcomed Marie on Friday. She weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20 inches long.

Christian stayed in Delphos for eight months when he was 16 years old (St. John’s High School) and also later during his studies at the university, he had an internship in the United States working at the Delphos Wastewater Treatment Plant. He is now 27 years old, has long finished his studies and is an environmental engineer, working for a company in Kirchlengern, about 25 miles from Verl. They produce filter systems for the industry, especially for brickyards.

Katharina, also 27, studied business administration and works as a controller for a company in Kuensebeck, about 15 miles from Verl.

Frithjof shared his family’s good news in his sister city via email to Mary Alice Davies and Rick Hanser.

Christine and Frithjof Meissner started the relation between Delphos and Verl. Christine’s great-great-great-granduncle was Father John Otto Bredeick, the founder and first pastor of Delphos. Christine was born in the same farmhouse like John Otto but almost 170 years later (1789/1958). She has been a nurse but has been a housekeeper since Christian’s birth. Frithjof, 58, is a high school teacher, teaching languages (English, French, Italian) and Computer Science. He is the coordinator of international contacts at his school, thus taking care of all the exchanges, also of the one between Verl and Delphos. Every year there are a number of students that like to travel to Delphos for four months. Besides the Delphos exchange, there are 11 more partner schools around Europe and also one partner school in Bukoba, Tanzania, Africa. Frithjof is also the webmaster of the school homepage and Hanser’s partner in the sister city link.

Christian Meissner holds his newborn daughter. According to Frithjof, Christian and wife will be enjoying “Elterngeld” — or parents’ money — which means the couple will get 14 months off work for looking after the baby right after birth. The can choose themselves how they share these 14 months. Christian and Katharina will both stay off work for seven months each, at first Katharina, because of breastfeeding, of course, and then Christian. In the middle, they will have one month off together in the summer so that they can make holidays, all four together, including Odin, the family dog.

If the husband does not take a minimum of two months off (perhaps because he is afraid of ruining his career), the young family will get parents’ money only for 12 months.

During the months that they do not go to work, the German state pays 67 percent of the last salary they earned but no more than 1,800 Euros ($2,450 US) per month. The last salary is counted in gross (pre-tax) but the parents money is tax-free.


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