"This is where people want to live"
Kaitee Hoekstra loves Frazee. “I’m amazed to find how people are dedicated to their community,” she said. Husband Elliot agrees. “Last winter I got stuck and before I knew it, two neighbors were there to help,” he said.
The Hoekstras experienced city life, but they dreamed about living in the country near a small town. So they found their home on a scenic hill outside of Frazee.
When choosing a place to live, it wasn’t about one town or one place, Elliot said. Both grew up in small communities so they longed to return to their roots. But they weren’t set on the exact place. “We had this whole lake area to find a home and we have friends in all these towns and places. Right now (outside Frazee) we’re 20 minutes from 10 different towns.”
It was Kaitee’s job interview experience that sealed the deal. “When I was looking for my first teaching job, the interview with the Frazee schools blew me away,” Kaitee said. “I’m very happy to be here and everybody is so accepting. My work is almost like having an extended family.”
Elliot works for Leighton Broadcasting out of Detroit Lakes, so he enjoys “working where I live.” (Detroit Lakes is minutes from Frazee.) He’s worked in all aspects of broadcasting, both behind the scenes and on air, but his current DJ gig with WAVE 104 gives him license to really connect with people in the area. “Music fans are really cool and loyal,” he said.
Elliot found that he missed the “way people are” in small towns as compared to the city. “You really get to actually know your neighbors,” he said.
Little towns are not without their challenges, Kaitee said. “We have hiccups, problems that can scare people off. But then you find out how many people are dedicated to the community when they rise to the occasion.” It’s almost like the team spirit Kaitee experiences at her school. “The teachers support the students. They all go to plays, concerts, sporting events. The school is really committed to the community and the community comes out in droves to school events. It’s so cool to see that in Frazee.”
Kaitee finds it easy to keep active and her schedule will change soon upon arrival of their first child. “You definitely can stay busy here,” she said. “It seems that what you’re doing matters more here. It’s where we want to be.”
Elliot thinks the Live Wide Open movement really rocks. “Our small towns in this area are growing because this is where people want to live,” he said. “To me, walking along the sidewalk and making eye contact with someone you meet, saying hello, really says it all.”