Watching over John’s children
BY ALYSSA MEIER
Six months after a farm accident claimed the life of one local man, an anonymous donor has stepped up to start building a future for the three children who lost their father that day.
Laren Holznagel was contacted recently by a friend and mentor of his son, John, who died in September 2017 following a ranching accident at his Washburn farm. Laren said the local farmer wrote him a check and asked him to do two things -- set up college savings accounts for each of John’s three children, and to not tell anyone who was behind the funds.
“He told me, “If there is any way I can be a vehicle to help put some funds away, that’s what I would like to do,” Laren said. “He wanted to stay anonymous, so he wrote me a check and asked me to set it up.”
Laren said he talked to a couple different banks and was advised to create a College Save account for each Noah, 8, Aubrey, 6 and Cora, 4. The account, also known as a 529 plan, was established by the State of North Dakota and is administered by the Bank of North Dakota. The accounts are created and designated to specific trustees, who will allow be allowed to use the funds for higher education.
“That money can only be taken out for college,” Laren said.
Laren said that with John, the farmer of the family and primary breadwinner gone, it was important to the donor that the children have a way to help them through college. Erin, John’s wife, said that the College Save funds are just another way that individuals have reached out to the family since John’s death.