by Cori Hilsgen
The Mark Zimmer Foundation is hosting a benefit to help cover medical expenses for St. Joseph Township resident Jerome Salzer, who was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in December.
The benefit will be from 11:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. Sunday, March 25, at LaPlayette Bar, 19 College Ave. N., St Joseph, Minn. 56374. The event is open to all ages and includes a spaghetti dinner provided by Kay’s Kitchen. Many donations and prizes will also be raffled.
Jerome, 65, originally thought he might have ulcers when he began coughing up blood in the middle of December. Various medical tests soon revealed he had a spot on his liver and he was later diagnosed with terminal liver cancer.
Jerome has been hospitalized several times and was placed on hospice in February. His kidneys are slowly failing.
After many years of waking up at 3 a.m. to rush to get farm chores done, Jerome is now spending his days at home on his farm with his wife, Jean, and other family and friends.
Jerome has been dairy farming for 39 years. His parents, Francis and Lucille, bought the farm in 1958. He and his brother, Don, formed a partnership and bought the farm from their parents in 1970. After some years, Don left the farm and two years ago their youngest son, Terry, and Jerome formed a partnership to farm together.
Jerome, Jean and Terry, recently sold their 130 milking cows on March 7. Two brothers, Derek and Ryan Schmitz, who milked for the Salzers several years ago will rent their barn to milk cows in and will also rent some of their land. Interestingly, the brothers bought some of the Salzer cows and had them returned to the barn for milking the day they were sold.
The family will continue to raise steers and do custom farm work.
The Salzer family wants to especially thank all the people who have been so kind to them during Jerome’s illness. These include all the people who helped with milking, chores and other responsibilities when they were at medical appointments and in the hospital. One friend of Terry’s has been helping cover farm chores for several months.
These also include the 12 people who helped get the cattle moved out of their barn, loaded for selling and helped clean the barn.
Jean said they have been overwhelmed with people’s help, generosity and the many acts of kindness they have shown to their family, such as bringing meals and other treats to their home.
“We don’t know what we would have done without all the help,” Jean said.
She said Jerome said he never realized how many friends they had.
Throughout the years, the family has actively contributed to the area. For many years, the Salzer family hosted Kennedy Elementary School kindergarten field trips and distributed ice cream treats donated by Cold Spring Co-op.
Jerome has served on the St. Joseph Township Board for 30 years. Jean said he really fought hard for residents and tried to help get things done that they requested.
The family has also helped set up concession stands at the July 4 Church of St. Joseph parish festival and Jerome served as an usher at the church.
Jerome and Jean have been married for 40 years. Both attended All Saints Academy-St. Joseph and North Junior High School in St. Cloud. Jerome graduated from Technical High School and Jean graduated from Apollo High School in St. Cloud.
Their family includes sons and daughters-in-law Jeff and Laura, David and Jenny, and Terry and Jenna, as well as grandsons Tyler, Kole, Jack and Carson, and granddaughters Sofia and Macy.
Jean said the farm has been a good place to raise their children and teach responsibility.
“We see that in our grandchildren,” she said. “Their parents have passed that sense of responsibility to them. If they are given a task to do they get it done before they go and play.”
Cash donations for the benefit may be sent to Mark Zimmer Foundation Inc., Attn: Jerome Salzer Benefit, P.O. Box 12, St. Joseph, Minn. 56374.
For additional information about the benefit, call La Playette at 320-363-7747.