On December 6, 2004, in St. Charles, Minnesota, Frank was next to a silo on his farm after leveling it off so that he could start the unloader to place corn silage into the machine. While standing on the auger, a colleague flipped the unloader switch, but he also flipped the auger switch. Frank was pulled down, feet first, into the auger, doing all he could to hold his torso above the menacing blades before the motor was shut down. But the damage had been done.
Muscle from Frank’s right leg was completely torn off from his knee to the ankle. Blood was everywhere. After a frantic 911 call, Frank was taken by ambulance to Saint Marys Hospital (it was so overcast that day that Mayo couldn’t fly its helicopter). "I talked the whole time," Frank recalls. "I never lost consciousness."
Frank spent about a month in the hospital and then went back every other day for two more months, enduring multiple surgeries. The surgeon eventually replaced muscle in Frank’s leg with muscle from his back. The recovery was long and arduous, but Frank’s leg was saved. That following summer at the Olmsted County Fair, Frank ran into a nurse who was in the ER the night he was brought in. "You’re alive!" she exclaimed. "You had lost so much blood. We were very worried about you."
Speaking of blood, Frank knows he wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the precious gift of donated blood. "I will never get to meet the people who donated the blood that saved my life," he says, "but I am forever indebted to them."