Larry Feldt grew up in a small community in the Iron Range. He and his wife Laureen have lived in rural Sauk Centre/Long Prairie since 1988, raising seven children and now enjoying their soon-to-be 13 grandchildren. They know what it means to help people in need
Because Feldt works through the Catholic Order of Foresters, which is a non-profit organization, his work is done from a position of being of service to people, and not trying to turn a larger profit.
“We’re there for people in time of need, whatever that need may be,” he said. “We help people through tough times. It’s all about faith, fellowship and family.”
The Catholic Order of Foresters is a fraternal organization that also offers insurance and investment opportunities. It provides college and parochial school scholarships. For people experiencing calamity, tragedy and hardship, many benevolent fundraisers are sponsored in the form of matching grants.
Feldt’s passion in life, closely linked with the values of the Foresters, includes making sure people are providing for themselves; seeing that families are taken care of if parents are gone; preparing for their businesses to be passed along; and leaving legacies to their churches or charities.
“I don’t like to hear, ‘I wish I would have…’ or ‘If I’d known’ ...” he said.
Feldt’s work ties in closely with the Feldts’ dedication to their home parish. He is in the choir and is also a cantor.
“We live a lifestyle of faith,” Feldt said. “At least, we try.”
Fundraisers often take the form of dinners, walk-a-thons, and ice cream socials. There are spirituality tap-ins, a gathering that features a speaker and a free beer for attendees. The Foresters offer prayer, always.
“All profits are turned back to the membership, not unlike a credit union or a coop. It’s all member-driven,” Feldt said. “It’s about relationships, financially, spiritually and emotionally.”
One of the ways that Catholic Order of Foresters works is through a program called Feeding God’s Children (FGC). It’s a year-round effort to feed people spiritually, physically, and mentally while serving and caring for the local community. Members and non-members of all ages are welcome to participate in activities such as blanket tying, donation giving, treat-baking, litter cleaning, card crafting, flower planting and meal packing.
Feldt tries to live a life of balance also. Growing up, he much of his time in the woods and he likes to get back to the woods and the outdoors by hunting (deer, grouse and pheasant, mainly) fishing and golfing. As a family, the Feldts enjoy camping, recently gathering together over Labor Day weekend. They have done a lot of travelling over the years. They like to visit relatives in Kansas.
The Feldts live on a 160-acre farm, where they have horses, put up hay and maintain apple orchards.
“We live in Amish country. We have older equipment, but in our neighborhood it’s some of the newest equipment,” Feldt said.
More important than most anything else is time with family.
“Family is important — that’s what drives me,” he said. “Grandkids are such a blessing.”
Although retirement is closer than it used to be, right now life is very satisfying just the way it is.
“I don’t plan on retiring anytime soon,” Feldt said. “I plan to work for many years to come, and spend time in northern Minnesota.”