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Perham brothers rebuild business after devastating fire

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The Fresonke brothers of Perham, Minn., are back in business after rebuilding their OK Tire store that was destroyed by fire in December 2016. WDAY photo3 / 3

PERHAM, Minn. — The two owners of the OK Tire store here admit rebuilding after a fire was an exhausting decision, but the brothers are used to overcoming adversity and beating the odds.

It's a dream shop for the Fresonke brothers of Perham — a new building full of light, workspace and cars lined up for tires and repair. It has taken time to rebuild from the bottom up.

There were times after the December 2016 fire where it all seemed too daunting to start over.

"Oh yeah, there were several times where I guess we thought, 'Well, maybe it ain't worth it,'" Brian Fresonke said.

But this family has started over before.

Brian's brother, George, runs the business side of things, lining up appointments and ordering tires using special software and adaptive technology for the blind.

It was 11 years ago when George rolled his car and was ejected, unconscious in freezing temperatures. Family and friends gathered at the hospital, uncertain of George's fate.

He survived, but the battle was far from over, and the business he started 20 years ago was moving on without him.

After training and learning from doing, George is back running the place, and he has a survivor's attitude. He's become a teacher, with customers witnessing persistence and purpose in a man who has made a comeback.

Don't look for George to be at the shop in early February, though — he will be hunting in Oklahoma.

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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