Friends, coworkers rally to support families of accident victimsNews of the tragic deaths of two young Carlton County men rocked the local community in early October. Now, a group of friends and coworkers want to do something significant to show their respect and support for their families.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
News of the tragic deaths of two young Carlton County men rocked the local community in early October. Now, a group of friends and coworkers want to do something significant to show their respect and support for their families.
Cloquet native Mitchell Lingren and Esko resident Zachary Gamache died after the county vehicle they were driving on the way to a job site was struck by a vehicle driven by a young woman returning from a methadone clinic in Brainerd, Minn. Their vehicle reportedly struck a guard rail and was forced into the opposite lane of traffic where it clipped a trailer being pulled by another vehicle and left the roadway. Both men were declared dead at the scene.
Lingren left behind a wife, Angie, and two small children, Jordan and Lilly.
“Mitch was an avid outdoorsman and a member of Minnowfaces.com, the Northland’s premiere outdoors information-sharing website,” said Kelly Cresap of Cloquet, also a member of the website organization. “Minnowfaces.com has teamed up with Mitch’s employer, family, and friends to start a fund drive to help out with Mitch’s children’s secondary education.”
A Facebook page has been created and dedicated to raising a goal of $10,000 for Lingren’s two young children. To donate, visit www.Minnowfaces.com and access the site’s secure donation link on the homepage. It is not necessary to log in or sign up with Minnowfaces.com to donate. Any amount you donate is welcome and appreciated, and you can monitor the progress of the fundraiser effort on the site as well as stay in tune with upcoming activities. As of the time this issue of the Pine Journal went to print, some $1,500 had been raised thus far.
Also in the early planning stages are two events to benefit the family. The first will be an evening at The Jack in Cloquet. Adam Bailey, a friend of Minnowfaces and owner of The Jack, has offered to host the event. The tentative date for the fundraiser is set for Saturday, Feb. 9, to coincide with the Minnowfaces gun raffle. In addition to the raffle, there will also be sales of stickers and hoodie sweatshirts to raise funds for the benefit. Bailey will act as DJ to provide music for the evening’s entertainment. Among raffle prizes already donated to the effort are a brand new Browning rifle, flip-over ice house, and Big Buddy heater. Tickets will go on sale soon.
The second event will coincide with the annual late spring fishing contest sponsored by the Minnowfaces.com website, featuring prizes, raffles and fishing.
In addition, Cresap and his wife, Karla, have decided to re-open their touchless automatic carwash for the winter season to help raise money for the effort. Sunnyside Carwash is donating $1 of every carwash to the Mitch Lingren Memorial Trust Fund until the fundraiser concludes at the Minnowfaces spring fishing contest and get together.
“Right now, the carwash is being brought out of mothballs and tuned up to start washing cars in honor of our fallen brother, his family, friends and, of course, those two kids,” said Cresap.
The Mitch Lingren Memorial Trust Fund has also teamed up with the Mitch-n- Zak Memorial Fundraiser Facebook site, created by co-workers of the two young men in order to raise funds in support of their families.
“October 1 was a life-changing day for many of us in the communities of Carlton, Cloquet, Esko and Duluth,” said site organizer Barb Bassa. “It was the day Mitch Lingren and Zak Gamache, the survey crew for Carlton County Transportation, were killed on Highway 210 on their way to a job site near Wright.”
The group is organizing a fundraiser benefit set for Jan. 11, 2013. It will be held at Clyde Ironworks Restaurant, 2920 W. Michigan St., Duluth, with doors opening at 3 p.m. There will be a silent auction, raffle drawings, snacks, a cash bar, and a DJ. Raffle items already donated include a queen-sized handmade quilt, a custom-butchered whole hog and a hand-made wooden decorative bench.
There will also be live entertainment by Virgil Caine, Don’t Panic, Ruff Rider, Rockabilly Review and more, beginning at 5 p.m. Limited dinner options are also available.
Tickets to the event are $20, with 100 percent of the proceeds gifted to the surviving family members.
A monetary donation to the Mitch-n-Zak Fundraiser can also be made at any Wells Fargo location; online by going to www.facebook.com/MitchnZakMemorialFundraiser; or by sending a check payable to Mitch & Zak Memorial Fund, c/o Carlton County Transportation, 1630 County Road 61, Carlton, MN 55718.
Of the proceeds collected at the event, 50 percent will go to Mitch’s wife and children and 50 percent will go to Zak’s parents, who have started a scholarship program in Zak’s memory. Other means of supporting the scholarship program include dog tags and window stickers available at Esko Self-Serve and other various area locations.
For more information, or to donate items for the raffle or silent auction, contact Bassa at 218-384-9152 or by email at email@example.com.