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Tobish family fundraiser set for Feb. 22

“She’s the strongest person I know,” Rebekah Hartung said of her best friend, Kim Tobish. “She’s a rock. I think the rest of us had more [post-traumatic stress] from what happened than she did.”

Even strong people need help sometimes, and Tobish certainly has after she and her two sons lost their Somerset trailer home and almost everything they owned to a fire New Year’s Day.

Hartung and a group of Tobish’s friends have planned a fundraiser for the Tobish family starting at 5 p.m on Saturday, Feb. 22, at The Settlement. Hartung, along with Jessie Gallagher, Julie Hays and Katie Persells are the driving force behind the event.

Hartung said Tobish and her sons, Darian and Tony, have been staying with Tobish’s father, who lives in the same trailer park around the corner from their burned-out trailer.

“They’re tight-packed in there,” Hartung said. “Her sister and her two kids live there right now too. Kim is itching to get her own place.”

Hartung said Tobish is touched by how gracious, generous and helpful people have been. She has a storage unit where she’s keeping donated furniture and other items until she can afford to have the burned-out trailer removed and a new one put in its place.

Getting the remains of the old trailer off her lot, which is north of Somerset off Highway 35, has been a struggle, Hartung said. She said Tobish hired someone to come haul the remains out, but it broke in half. It now sits half in, half-out of its location.

“Since it almost burned in half, it literally kind of broke in half. She’ll just have to wait until the weather warms up,” Hartung said. “She is paying lot rent, so the goal is to see what she can afford and put a new trailer in its place.”

Hartung said the kids seem to be doing as well as can be expected after the devastating loss.

“Tony, who is 6, laments things he’s lost in the fire from time to time,” Hartung said. “He sometimes will remember a toy he has lost. I’m not as close to Darian, so I’m not sure.”

She said the family still mourns the loss of their beloved cat, but that Tobish is “obviously so thankful her kids are OK.”

The fundraiser

The fundraiser at The Settlement will kick off with a buffet-style spaghetti dinner from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost for adults is $10, children 12 and under are $5.

From 6 to 8 p.m. attendees can bid on silent auction items, including two weekend getaways to Walleye Dundee’s resort on Lake Mille Lacs in Wahkon, Minn., framed wildlife photos, Thirty-One items, a Coach duffle bag, a four-day Kevlar canoe rental in Ely, Minn., an American Girl doll outfit, Dweebs memorabilia and more.

Grand raffle prize tickets will be for sale for $20, and $10 for each additional ticket. Hartung said the winner will get a wheelbarrow full of various liquors, worth more than $500.

DJ music and karaoke, provided by Kar Jackers Entertainment of New Richmond, begins at 9 p.m.

If you can’t attend the fundraiser, but would like to help, send donations to the Tobish Fire Fund under Kim Tobish at Royal Credit Union, 115 Parent St., Somerset, WI 54025, or 335 S. Knowles Ave., New Richmond, WI 54017. Donations can be made in person at both banks as well.

Sarah Nigbor

Sarah J. Nigbor serves as a regional editor for RiverTown Multimedia, a position she began in April 2017. She joined RiverTown Multimedia in October 2013 as a news reporter for the New Richmond News, before being appointed editor of the Pierce County Herald in Febraury 2015. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Spanish and French in 2001. She completed a minor in journalism in 2004. 

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