Hundreds of people came together Friday night at Clintonville Lanes to celebrate the life of Alex Olmsted, a 9-year-old boy who was killed in an automobile accident in January.
“Everybody wanted to come together and was asking, what can the community do,” said Laura Mares, a friend of the family and one of the organizers of the benefit. “We got together with the family after the dust settled a little bit and decided Alex would like some of the proceeds to go back to the parks, the EMT’s, and the people that helped him out. That’s what we’re here for tonight.”
While most of the proceeds will stay in the area and go towards local parks and EMT’s, Mares added Alex would have wanted some money to go back to the responders to his accident, which is why organizers will send a portion to Barron County EMT’s.
Doors for the benefit opened at 5:30 p.m. and already the parking was overflowing to neighboring streets, as well as the lawn at Clintonville Lanes. According to Mares, organizers spent about four weeks planning the benefit, and the community responded in a big way.
“We have so many donations,” said Mares. We have over 170 raffle baskets, 50/50 donations, tons and tons of card raffles, we’re having a fish fry, and a band from eight until midnight.”
Organizers say they were hoping for a turnout of at least 500, but it is safe to say they well-exceeded their goal, as the community remembered a boy who put a lot of smiles on many faces.