HOWARD LAKE The Weege family of Howard Lake did not get what they wished for last Christmas.
Area residents may recall that Tressie Weege and her three children, Emma, Anna and RJ, lost their home to fire in the early morning hours of Christmas Day.
Delano’s Katie Dillman, Tressie’s sister, said although the fire was thought to have been caused by an electrical issue of some kind, it could not be determined because the water used to extinguish the blazing home had frozen, and obliterated any clues.
No one was home when the fire began to rage. The house and all of its contents however, was a complete loss.
Earlier tough times
Tressie is a two-time stroke survivor. Her first stroke occurred in 2012. Her last stroke took place not long before Christmas.
A town’s quick reaction
Dillman said help for her sister’s family arrived quickly following the fire. Donations were accepted at Mumford Sanitation in Howard Lake, and they came in fast and furious.
Someone offered the family a trailer in which to live while they figured out how to proceed.
Winter to spring
Nearly five months later, the Weege family has a plan. They’ve moved from the trailer into a different home in Howard Lake. They have plenty of clothes. But, the family’s insurance didn’t cover as much as they needed it to.
A benefit is born
Dillman reported a benefit for the Weege family will take place Saturday, April 28, at First Presbyterian Church in Howard Lake. The event will run from 2 to 6 p.m., and will feature a dinner and a silent auction.
The menu for the evening includes smoked pulled pork sandwiches, cowboy beans, coleslaw, and dessert. Tickets for adults cost $10; children age 12 and under may eat for $6.
Dillman stated donations for the silent auction are coming daily. She said items available for the benefit’s silent auction currently include Winstock tickets, a mystery wine basket, homemade baby items and afghans, and many local gift cards.
Dillman asked that anyone wishing to donate silent auction items call her directly at (763) 439-6265, and she will coordinate pickup.
Every cent goes to the family
Dillman said that the best part of the benefit may be the fact that Thrivent Financial has provided grant funding to cover everything needed for the dinner.
“One-hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Tressie and her family,” Dillman said.
Dillman said the reactions from area communities, and Howard Lake in particular, has been amazing.
“These are some great communities,” she said. “I hope people will bring their families and come enjoy the dinner and silent auction.”
Dillman said the Weeges want everyone to know they are grateful.
“The family is very appreciative and thankful for all the support they have received, and continue to get from the community,” Dillman said.
The Weege family benefit takes place tomorrow, from 2 to 6 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 921 9th St. in Howard Lake.
Bidding on silent auction items will cease at 6 p.m. sharp, and highest bidders need not be present to win.