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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

$70,000 Raised for Injured MN Tow Truck Driver

Kudos to the organizers and supporters! Here's the story from DL-Online:

A fund-raiser Saturday raised more than $70,000 for a Detroit Lakes man injured Sept. 9 while helping stage a bus crash for a Becker County disaster drill, according to Detroit Lakes Police investigator Chad Jutz.

Mike Smith, 44, remains at the Hennepin County Medical Center, recovering from serious injuries incurred in the accident

About 2,000 people attended the benefit, held Saturday night at the Soo Pass Ranch where the accident occurred.

It raised $71,727, according to Jutz.

That includes $22,500 raised Friday during a KRCQ Radio A-thon in which local business and listeners were asked to donate. It also includes a $1,000 matching grant from Thrivent, Jutz said.

Smith owns and operates Lakes Country Towing in Detroit Lakes and was using one of his wreckers to tip a converted school bus for the drill. A freak accident caused the school bus to push the wrecker down an incline.

Smith tried to jump into his truck to put on the brakes and was caught half in and half out, suffering crushing injuries when the truck sideswiped a tree.

He suffered extensive injuries, including a crushed pelvis and the loss of his left leg.

On Sunday, this message was posted on Smith’s CaringBridge Web site:

“Just got off the phone with Mike and Julie .... they would like to thank everyone for attending and supporting the benefit!!

They especially want to extend their sincere and deepest thanks to the benefit committee and volunteers who have spent countless hours — organizing, marking and posting silent and live auction items — auditing, cooking, serving, cleaning, parking lot attendants, beer ticket sellers, bartenders, silent/live auction check out, security, clean crew, and the entertainers - sorry if they missed someone.

Thanks to WE Fest and Jim Fletcher for the use of the facilities.

Mike and Julie are amazed at the number of people and businesses who donated items to the silent and live auction. Without the generosity of everyone, including the attendees, the benefit would not have been a giant success.

Both Mike and Julie regret that the Webcam wouldn't work due to the Internet connection available at HCMC, and the fact they couldn’t attend the benefit.

Today is another long, slow day of waiting. Mike didn't have dialysis today — his kidneys seem to be improving and working a little bit more each day. Surgery is scheduled tomorrow to repair (put screws in) the back of Mike’s pelvis near the area where the pelvis meets the spinal column, and of course dialysis continues tomorrow as well.

The Benefit Committee extends their thanks as well to all the media, the volunteers, the entertainers and the generous donations and contributions of so very many people. We are overwhelmed by all the support – Thank you, everyone!!! — Dawn”

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