Mound Prairie Mutual

A Heart for Houston

If there are two things that embody life and work at Mound Prairie Mutual in Houston, Minn., they’re family values and community involvement.

Reminiscent of an ’80s feel-good movie, the staff of this small town mutual is involved in every level of the community. From having staff volunteering at community events and serving as board members with local organizations, to being an annual buyer at the local youth livestock auction, Mound Prairie is a longstanding community pillar, serving the Houston area since 1884.


Vicki Hongerholt, manager of Mound Prairie Mutual, started there in 1993. She was hired as secretary, then became the office manager. She moved to mutual manager in 2017.

When Hongerholt joined Mound Prairie, the mutual began an annual fundraiser called the Milo Runningen Memorial Golf Tournament to benefit fire departments in the area, and fire safety has become a major focus of the mutual.

“People sign up for the golf outing for a fee and then we donate all the proceeds to whichever fire department’s turn it is in the rotation,” Hongerholt said. “We rotate the proceeds among twenty-one volunteer fire departments in southeast Minnesota. And we average 130 firefighters attending the event each year.

“We also offer a program to our insureds where we help them get extinguishers at a much-reduced rate. If they use one in a loss, we replace the extinguisher at no charge.”

The hometown mutual is also deeply involved with holiday festivities in Houston. Mound Prairie is a popular stop on the downtown business trick-or-treating circuit each Halloween.

“We pass out little bags of Cheetos every year,” Hongerholt said. “The grocery store does apples, other people do candy, we do Cheetos. They’re perfect — they’re orange for Halloween! The kids get so excited every year.”

This thoughtful, familial attitude doesn’t just pertain to Halloween, though. It is clear that each person at Mound Prairie values teamwork and camaraderie, and that they take an interest in each other’s lives.


In fact, in June 2017, Hongerholt took on a very important personal (and unexpected!) role — that of hospital chauffeur for coworker Jerry’s wife, Amy, when she went into labor in the office while Jerry was out picking strawberries with their other children.

Hongerholt drove Amy to the hospital about 20 miles away. Of course, the normal route was closed due to construction, so they had to detour a little bit, but she got mom and baby to the hospital in plenty of time, where Dad met them.

They had a healthy boy, Tristen. Tristen, now almost 4, and Hongerholt sees him often.

This summer the team at Mound Prairie is looking forward to helping out at Houston Hoedown Days, Houston’s annual hometown celebration, even more than ever since events were canceled last year. This ties closely to what Hongerholt loves most about her job, which is being able to help people.

“A lot of people don’t know a lot about insurance,” Hongerholt said. “They just know that they need it, so we get to help them navigate that protect themselves from the unexpected.”

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