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Frost community plans another fish fry benefit

This time proceeds will go to help the Kevin Steinhauer family

By Fiona Edberg - Staff Writer | Sep 5, 2021

The fish fry in Frost will go to benefit the Steinhauer family, shown here at their kitchen table. Left to right are Alison, Kevin and Laura Steinhauer. Not pictured is son Matthew Krause.

A tiny community with a big heart, Frost is well-known for its regular fish fry benefits. The benefits are held to collect donations for a local person in need, and have done much to unite the community over the years.

“It’s a community club of sorts. Everybody’s helping,” explains TJ Johnson, who helped organize Frost’s very first benefit in 1979.

“Now, the benefits seem to keep getting bigger and bigger,” Johnson adds.

Johnson initially hosted the early benefits at his restaurant, TJ’s Bar and Grill. However, after the building was converted into Julie’s Bar and Grill by owner Julie Halverson, Johnson began working with Halverson to continue the tradition.

“Julie and I started doing benefits together several years ago,” says Johnson.

The next upcoming benefit, which will be hosted in support of Kevin Steinhauer, will be held outside Julie’s Bar and Grill on Sept. 11, from 12-3 p.m.

“He’s well-liked and well-respected in the community,” says Johnson of Steinhauer. “He’s a walking miracle, according to Mayo (Clinic).”

Johnson is referencing a severe car accident which Steinhauer was involved in on June 13.

“I used to be an EMT, and I honestly don’t understand how he survived,” admits Johnson.

The accident occurred when Steinhauer was on his way home from checking his crops. He was struck suddenly when another vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed, drove through a stop sign.

“I can’t remember what happened,” says Steinhauer.

Steinhauer has been told he was conscious following the collision, but cannot recall anything about that night.

“I had 13 broken ribs, a dislocated hip and shoulder, internal lacerations and bleeding, a head hematoma, and a broken arm,” relates Steinhauer.

“I had a helicopter ride to Rochester, which I don’t remember,” Steinhauer adds.

Steinhauer is in the process of recovering, but still has a long road of operations ahead of him.

“I just had surgery last Friday for my hip,” he shares. “Having that done is a big deal. Getting that healed up creates lots of freedom and mobility.”

Steinhauer has a few additional operations scheduled later this year. “I’ll have a couple more surgeries, and hopefully be back to more normal,” he shares.

Steinhauer’s projected recovery date is six months to one year from now.

In the meantime, the Frost community has gathered together to support him and his family.

The fish fry benefit is the culmination of countless acts of community support.

“The accident happened at 7 p.m. on Sunday, and people came to help Monday morning,” says Alison Steinhauer, Steinhauer’s wife.

“People brought meals, sent snacks, the neighbors mowed the lawn,” she adds.

Steinhauer has also received a diverse, but equally appreciated array of visitors throughout his recovery.

“People ages 12 to 87 came to visit, and all were friends,” he says.

The community will continue its generous outpour of support at the fish fry.

Steinhauer admits he was reticent to agree to be the event’s beneficiary.

“We were at a neighbor’s birthday party, and TJ Johnson and another farmer friend came up to me and asked me,” Steinhauer shares. “I told them no, but they insisted.”

Steinhauer continues, “One guy pounded on my shoulder, and said, ‘You’re going to do this. The community needs to do this.'”

Both Steinhauer and Johnson maintain that the tradition of the fish fry benefits not just individuals within the community, but the community as a whole.

“The community needs to come together sometimes,” reasons Steinhauer. “It’s good for them, and it’s good for me.”

Johnson also sees the benefits enhance Frost’s community spirit. “People are willing to help other people,” he explains. “We’re a small town, but we stick together.”

The benefit hosted for Steinhauer will include both a full meal and a silent auction. The event has been generously, and entirely funded by the community.

“Todd Fenske paid for all the fish,” Johnson shares. “The coleslaw was donated by Tom Hughes, and the beans are being made by Pat and Ray Oswald.”

Meanwhile, the silent auction is the effort of countless individuals. “Basically everyone I’ve talked to has said they’re bringing something for the silent auction,” relates Johnson.

Apart from donations to make the event itself possible, direct donations are also being accepted to facilitate Steinhauer’s recovery.

“Donations can be sent to the State Bank of Frost,” explains Johnson. “There is an account already opened.”

Over the years, the benefits have done a lot of good for the community, and Johnson feels certain the good will continue.

“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep doing it, but lots of young folks will be able to take it over,” shares Johnson.

Indeed, there seems to be a bright future for younger generations in Frost.

“It’s kind of a younger community,” notes Steinhauer. “There are only 197 people, but it’s a good, strong community.”

Steinhauer is sorry to see events happen that necessitate the fish fry benefits, but he is nonetheless grateful for the community support when tragedy strikes citizens of Frost.

“I thank them over and over,” Steinhauer says. “But, I hope I never have to have the opportunity to return the favor.”

Johnson is certain that not just the Frost community, but the county as a whole, will continue to return favors to its own.

“All Faribault County people should be proud to be from Faribault county,” Johnson says.