By Nan Royce
HOWARD LAKE Aaron and Kelly Reich were making their dreams come true.
They had been married for almost six years after a wedding in Waverly, loved being the parents of three little boys, under the age of 4, and were excited to have baby number four scheduled to arrive in July 2018.
The couple owned a home in rural Buffalo. Aaron worked as a truck driver, while Kelly was a stay-at-home mother.
Kelly didn’t move too far from her roots. She is the daughter of Brian and Patti Barth. Brian has been a teacher at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Schools for many years; and her grandparents enjoy living on Little Waverly Lake. Kelly is a HLWW graduate.
He stopped to help
The morning of December 13, 2017 started like any other regular day. That changed in heartbeat.
Aaron, already at work, had reportedly stopped to offer assistance to another truck driver in Hugo.
Somehow a front end loader got loose and pinned Aaron between it and semi-trailer truck, according to the Star Tribune. The accident occurred at approximately 8:30 a.m.
Sgt. Joseph Stoehr of the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was quoted in the Star Tribune as saying the victim “was pinned between them.”
“Emergency responders carried out lifesaving efforts on the victim, who was pronounced dead at the scene,” the Star Tribune reported.
Aaron, 36, was gone. The accident remains under investigation.
Aaron and Kelly’s families, many of whom live in the surrounding area, came together, and conducted a funeral for Aaron at Salem Lutheran Church in Greenfield Dec. 19, 2017.
In Aaron’s obituary, Kelly was called “the love of his life.”
Everyone wants to help
Kelly and her children are learning to keep moving forward, and have been surrounded by their communities in several ways. Someone started a meal train for the family. Kelly’s girlfriends helped watch the children, and an FFA group hosted a spaghetti supper for the Reich family. Emily Long, one of Kelly’s best friends, wanted to do something helpful, too.
Long was brainstorming with another friend, Howard Lake photographer and HLWW school board member Lacy Detlefsen.
Detlefsen knew the Reich family. She had been their wedding photographer, and also had taken family portraits for them in recent years.
Detlefsen noted that on Aaron and Kelly’s wedding day, when she looked at the couple, “they sparkled.” She said each time the family would come to her portrait studio for new family pictures, that sparkle between the husband and wife remained.
The pair came up with an idea for a fundraiser for Kelly and her boys.
They wanted to do something, and do something big. The Girls Gotta Stick Together Vendor Event for Kelly quickly went from just an idea into action phase.
Detlefsen and Long started the process by securing a venue.
Long has worked at the Howard Lake Legion for many years, and was able to reserve the space for the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 24. The Howard Lake Fire Department offered the free use of its tables.
Next, the pair began to think of all the small businesses and vendors they liked themselves.
For a fee (which will go directly to Kelly), vendors could reserve a space in the Legion during the fundraiser to showcase their product lines. At press, time approximately 25 vendors had committed to the event, and the list continues to grow.
Confirmed vendors include: LuLaRoe, Scentsy, Enchanted Trunk, KEEP, Papparazzi, Pink Zebra, Avon, Tastefully Simple, LipSense/Senegence, Thirty-One, Pure Romance, Tupperware, Magnolia & Vine, Color Street, Java Momma, Young Living, Melaleuca, USborne Books, Plexus, and Pet Bandannas.
Making it even more fun
In addition to the vendor show, Detlefsen and Long got Legion staff to assist them in putting on a raffle, which will take place during the event.
Raffle prizes have started to come in, but those wishing to donate additional prizes can simply call Detlefsen or Long (their phone numbers are in the box) and the ladies will either give drop-off directions, or pick up the items themselves.
Detlefsen and Long also intend to set up a bake sale inside the Legion during the event, so attendees may take home some treats. Goodies may be dropped off at the Howard Lake American Legion by 11 a.m. the morning of Feb. 24, or call Detlefsen or Long to ask about other arrangements. All proceeds from the bake sale will go directly to Kelly and her boys.
For the ladies, manicures and hand massages will be offered.
A meat raffle will begin at 3 p.m., and the Legion will offer buy one drink, get one free specials during the meat raffle.
Donation buckets will be stationed around the Legion for those wishing to make a direct donation.
Anyone who cannot make the event for any reason, is welcome to write a donation check out to Kelly Reich, and mail it to Detlefsen at her photo studio, “That Chick with a Camera,” at 817 6th St, Howard Lake, MN 55349.
“We need community involvement,” Detlefsen said. “Everyone can give back. People’s luck can turn in 30 seconds. We just don’t want Kelly to be alone in this,” she said. “This is an awesome community and we want to help.”
Fundraiser for the Reich family
• What? Girls Gotta Stick Together fundraiser for Reich family. The event includes vendors, a prize raffle, a meat raffle, a bake sale, and more.
• Where? Howard Lake American Legion, 616 7th Ave, Howard Lake, MN 55349.
• When? Saturday, Feb. 24 from noon until 4 p.m.
• For more information: contact Lacy Detlefsen at (612) 237-1841 or Emily Long at (612) 508-4874.