Ag community helps raise funds for boys' memorial
By Jennifer Carrico
There was not a dry eye in the sale barn on Dec. 4. People from all across the Midwest had traveled to Creston Livestock Auction in Creston, Iowa, to show their support of the family who owns the sale barn and had shown so much support to others in times of need.
On the late afternoon of Nov. 30, T.J. Frey, 11, and Nathan Frey, 9, died after falling through the ice and drowning in a pond at the family’s farm. The word “heartbreaking” was heard throughout the crowd at the special feeder calf sale on Dec. 4. Some in the audience were there to watch their calves sell, some were there to buy calves, and all were there to show their support of the Tom and Leisa Frey family, who owns the auction barn and had suffered such a tragic loss.
At noon, a steer donated by Curt and Heather Sporleder, of the Unionville, Mo., livestock auction entered the sale ring to be auctioned off in a roll-over auction, which raised over $60,000 for the T.J. and Nathan Frey Memorial Fund.
“When we heard about this terrible tragedy which had hit our dear friends, we wanted to do what we could to help them,” Sporleder said. “The Freys would be the first to step up and help someone else in need and now it was our turn to help them.”
Along with Sporleder, auctioneers from many southern Iowa sale barns, Missouri sale barns and some as far away as Kentucky and Kansas, including 1996 World Champion Auctioneer Lanny Ireland and 2011 World Champion Auctioneer Charley Cummins, were there to assist throughout the day. All were there to help the Creston Livestock Auction crew get the sale completed for their customers and to show support for the family in their time of grief.
Bub Hoskins from Knoxville Regional Livestock Auction briefly addressed the crowd prior to collecting bids for the benefit. “I knew I’d be here because we know they’d be the first to step up and help us,” he said.
The auction started and collected a $3,000 winning bid, followed by a $2,500 winning bid, and then another and another. Bids came in from other sale barns, cattle farms and ranches, associations, banks, local businesses, family friends, and people from as far away as Colorado, Oklahoma and Kentucky.
When all the funds were added up, over $60,000 was raised for the memorial.
Tom Frey emotionally addressed the crowd and thanked the community, their customers and their friends for all the support.
“We are overwhelmed with your support and continued belief in our family. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for getting us through this tough time,” said Frey as he wiped away a tear. His emotional thanks for everyone’s generosity, along with their family’s faith were a great help during this time.
Corey Schultz, regional executive officer for the Livestock Marketing Association, helped organize the benefit for the Frey family. The auction helped to raise monies for the T.J. and Nathan Frey Memorial Fund.
Schultz said the funds will be donated to the St. Malachy School in Creston, where the boys attended, but the details of how the money will be used have not yet been finalized.
“After the dust settles, the family will sit down with the school’s foundation and decide how to use the money in the best way possible to benefit the most children,” Schultz said.
“This experience was very humbling for Tom and Leisa,” he continued. “The community of Creston and the livestock associations from around the area stepped up to support the Frey family.”
Sporleder said he is glad to work in such a great industry where everyone comes together to support each other when needed.
“There were guys volunteering from different markets to come do what they could to help for the sale. Some of them had never met the Frey family. That kind of support is powerful.”
The support shown by the agricultural community is powerful when one of its members is in need of help, and the benefit for the Frey family will help keep the boys’ memory alive for many years to come.
Jennifer Carrico can be reached by phone at 515-833-2120 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.