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Y'all come! Finland Fire and Lake County Rescue hold benefit for Riebe

An evening of fun, food and music is being planned to raise funds for a Finland couple. The event will take place at the Clair Nelson Center on Thursday, July 11, from 4-8 p.m. with donations and proceeds of the silent auction going to Mark and Monica Riebe.

On March 26, Monica underwent surgery in Duluth to replace two heart valves. She is now on the long road to recovery and travelling back and forth to Two Harbors three times per week for rehabilitative care - a round trip she'll make over 100 times by the time she's done. Monica's health problems weren't widely known for some time, said Danette Sundvick, who is organizing the fundraiser, but once word got out, the community rallied its support.

"Monica is always eager to help if anyone needs anything. Mark is the treasurer of the fire department and (Monica) does a lot of the computer work to help with that," said Sundvick, also emphasizing the commitment the couple has made to making sure their neighbors get the help they need in an emergency. Mark has been with the fire department for over 15 years and with Lake County Rescue in Finland for almost 10.

"Mark never misses a call. If you call 911, chances are it's his face you're going to see. He's a very active member of the community," noted Sundvick. As a result, Monica has spent innumerable hours holding down the fort on weekends, holidays and in the middle of the night -whenever the pager sounds. The community - businesses, friends and neighbors--is now rallying support and giving back.

The July fundraiser will include a barbecue with brats and burgers. To those who are handy in the kitchen, Sundvick has assigned side dishes and desserts and the Curry Family Band has been booked to provide entertainment. Everyone is invited to attend. A good turnout will help defray the medical and related expenses the Riebes face, which include costs not covered by their health insurance and travel expenses to Lake View Clinic.

Cash donations will be accepted at the door and Sundvick said she has been receiving items from local businesses -everything from beach towels to bags of coffee. From artists and crafters there will be etched glass, fine art and wood work. There will be drawings for some of these items; others will go to the highest bidder in the silent auction.

The Clair Nelson Center is located at 6866 Cramer Road in Finland. If you'd like to donate money, goods or services for the fundraiser, contact Danette Sundvick at 218-353-7409