Stegner benefit a big success

If you could put a measurement on community support for Yvonne Stegner, you’d need more than a few tape measures.

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By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor |

If you could put a measurement on community support for Yvonne Stegner, you’d need more than a few tape measures.

On Nov. 8, citizens of Amidon and members of the surrounding communities gathered to show support for Stegner.

Stegner has been in the hospital since she suffered a stroke in her brainstem on Oct. 7. After early stroke symptoms set in she was taken by ambulance to Bowman and was then flown to St. Alexius Hospital in Bismarck.

After she was diagnosed and assessed in Bismarck, she was then flown to Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis where she spent two weeks in the intensive care unit.

She recently was moved to Vibra Hospital in Mandan to continue treatment and begin the rehabilitation process.

With one of their members suffering, the town of Amidon rallied.

Spearheaded by the board members of Lebanon Lutheran Church, a benefit was held to raise funds to support Stegner and her family as they get through the difficult ordeal.

Stegner is treasurer of the church and was described by those closest to her as a great person and a wonderful mother.

“Yvonne is just an overall nice person, everybody thinks the world of her,” said Lyn Hewson, Amidon resident and friend to Stegner.

Mother to five children, Stegner has connections to different parts of southwest North Dakota.

Three of her children attend school in New England. She is the postmaster of the Amidon post office and her husband, Brice, works for MBI Energy Services in Belfield.

“I just know there’s a lot of outreach from a large area of people,” Hewson said.

Stegner grew up in Litchville and received her teaching degree from Valley City State University. She began teaching in Powers Lake where she met her husband. They relocated to Amidon and she’s been active in the community ever since.

“She has really embraced the community out there (in Amidon),” said Karen Erickson, Stegner’s sister.

Erickson said support has also come from other areas outside Amidon, such as MBI Energy Services. They have been wonderful in supporting Brice as he supports his wife and takes care of the children, according to Erickson.

“Those folks up there (at MBI) have just been phenomenal in being supportive of him and the family,” Erickson said.

Erickson was in attendance for the medical benefit held at the Amidon fairgrounds and was very happy to see the turn out.

“To see all these people who have stepped up and tried to do everything they can is just really touching to see,” Erickson said. “The support that we see really speaks to the goodness of the people out there in these communities.”

It took the church board about two weeks to plan the event, said Michelle Petri.

With such a short period of time, she said everyone took on a specific job and really worked together.

“Everybody pitches in with something like that, everyone wants to help out, and is willing to donate time,” Petri said.

Petri also serves on the church board at Lebanon Lutheran and is friends with Stegner.

Other board members that planned the event included Leon Hewson, John Hanson and Don Nordby. Among others, said Petri, there were numerous people to pitch in and volunteer.

The event featured a live and silent auction, along with musical entertainment and a steak dinner.

Musical performers included Mark Koller, Lyn Hewson, Mark Franklund, Keri Youngstrand, Erin Ehlis, and Lane and Anne Dingfelder.

“Music is a big part of Yvonne’s life. She’s a very talented musician and having an event for Yvonne had to include music because of her passion for music,” Petri said.

The auctions featured a wide range of items including make up, toys, books, cooking utensils, baby items, luggage, guns, art and baked goods.

Between the two auctions over $9,000 was raised.

The meal was also a big success—it’s estimated they served about 270 people, according to Petri.

Between the auctions and the free will offering, $35,002.50 was raised, a testament to what a community can do when one of their own is hurting.

“That should speak volumes to the family that there’s a lot of people out there that care and are concerned and want to help,” Petri said. “It’s the generosity of the people too.”

Petri said they are gathering photos from the event so they can bind them in a book to bring to Stegner.

It’s a simple gesture intended to help Stegner see how many people are out there supporting her as she ventures down the road to recovery.

If you would like to send a greeting, you may send it to Yvonne Stegner, Vibra Hospital, 1000 18th St. NW, Mandan, ND  58554.

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