A community steps in to help | SierraSun.com

A community steps in to help

David Bunker
Sierra Sun

Certain moments in life are bittersweet reminders of our own fragility and the selfless help our fellow humans can render in a time of need.

These last weeks, two long-time Tahoe locals fell on hard times.

And, like the tight-knit community that Truckee and North Tahoe still is, friends and acquaintances stepped in to help.

It’s no stretch at all to call Robert Frohlich a Tahoe icon.

Take any facet of the Tahoe lifestyle and “Fro” has lived it and written about it. As a chronicler of the Tahoe ski industry since the 1970s, Frohlich has chosen a lifestyle rich in experiences.

So when “Fro” was diagnosed with stomach cancer, there was no shortage of people who clamored to help. That, in itself, says a lot about a person.

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I won’t pretend to be a close friend of “Fro,” but, like almost anyone who has lived around here for any amount of time, I knew of him and talked with him at times.

The last time I called him was on the unfortunate occasion of author Oakley Hall’s death.

As always, Frohlich was articulate, insightful and open. He talked about traveling to Tahoe after graduating from the University of North Carolina and meeting Hall.

Frohlich talked about Hall’s unbridled passion for life experiences, noting that Hall was a big wave surfer in Hawaii before buying a home in Squaw Valley.

“He was really a leader, a voice,” said Frohlich.

Now, looking back on those words, I think about how fittingly those words describe “Fro” himself.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Show up to the Alpine Meadows lodge on Oct.19, from 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and see how many people show up to support Frohlich. Tickets are $60, and include food from some of Tahoe’s best restaurants, a raffle, music and a photography show from some of Tahoe’s best shooters. You can get them at Tahoe Dave’s Sport Shop (Truckee and Tahoe City locations), Alice’s Market at Squaw Valley, Wild Cherries Coffee Shop in Truckee, and Porter’s Tahoe (Truckee and Tahoe City locations), or at the door. All the money will go toward helping “Fro.”

That’s one thing about the communities of North Tahoe and Truckee, when bad things happen, good people step up. I speak for several people in the Sierra Sun newsroom when I say “Get well ‘Fro.'”

A few years ago I lived in an upstairs apartment in Kings Beach. It was an unusual place, where my neighbors were a civil engineering firm, a restaurant and a ski shop.

During big winter storms or lazy late afternoons I’d amble down to the ski shop and talk to one of the nicest guys I’ve met in Tahoe so far.

Heath Spencer is one of those guys who makes North Tahoe the great community it is: He’s a laid back outdoorsman, family man and small businessman.

Spencer recently crashed on his dirt bike, fractured three vertebrae, two ribs and his hip in four places. He had to get surgery, and he’s now recovering. But his medical bills are stacking up.

Spencer was blocked from getting health insurance because of as previous ski injury, according to his friends.

That’s where, once again, locals stepped up to help. This Saturday, locals will raffle off a pile of prices donated to help raise money for Spencer. Call Chris McConnell at 546-4235 for a raffle ticket to win a cruise for four on the Wild Goose II, a $200 gift certificate. Or call 583-4656 to learn how to donate directly to Heath.

A lot of times we think of Tahoe in terms of natural beauty and recreation ” but in my few years living here it’s the people who I find the most amazing.

And in the next couple weeks we have a chance to help a couple good people out.