Heron Lake event to benefit paralyzed SSC grad
OKABENA — A benefit for Lloyd Kalfs, a Southwest Star Concept graduate who was paralyzed from the chest down as a result of a June car crash, will take place Saturday at Heron Lake Elementary School, 321 Stearns Ave., Heron Lake.
The benefit will run from 4:30 to 8 p.m. and include a soup and chili dinner as well as more than 145 items up for bid in a silent auction.
“I’m really outdoorsy and I like to hunt and fish, so I know that a lot of the items at the silent auction reflect my hobbies,” Kalfs said Monday by phone.
Larry Liepold, a benefit organizer and close family friend to the Kalfs family, elaborated on some of the auction items.
“We did try and pick a lot of things that are more outdoorsy,” Liepold said. “We have things like bear hunting trips, a couple one week stays at Bowstring Resort in Deer River, a lot of feed and chemical products for farmers, and a few hunting rifles.”
Kalfs, 25, attended Northland College in Ashland, Wis., where he majored in wildlife natural resources and played basketball all four years. He graduated in May 2011 and returned to the Okabena area to be closer to his family and work at the Cottonwood County Soil and Water Conservation District as a feedlot and septic technician.
Kalfs was driving down a gravel road June 15 when he lost control of his vehicle and rolled the car into a ditch.
“He doesn’t really remember the accident,” Kalfs’ sister, Laura Kalfs said. “He remembers driving and knows that he wasn’t on his phone, and all the drug and alcohol tests came up negative when he was first admitted to the hospital.
“A few weeks after his accident, he had a pacemaker put in because his heart would pause — the longest recorded pause he had was 59 seconds,” she added. “Doctors think that he could have had an episode while driving, but it’s something we’ll never know.”
Kalfs spent more than three weeks at Sanford Hospital in Sioux Falls, S.D., following his accident. Since then, he has been at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospital in Lincoln, Neb.
“My recovery has been pretty good so far,” Kalfs said. “I have regained some strength in my biceps and triceps, but I still don’t have much movement in my hands or lower arms, which is what we’re working on now.”
Kalfs is expected to return home Wednesday and plans to be at Saturday night’s benefit.
“I’m really excited to be back home,” he said. “I’ve been in the hospital for six months, and it will be nice to be out of the hospital setting and to see my friends and family.”
Proceeds will go toward Kalfs’ recovery as well as a vehicle his family is hoping to purchase for him.
“Lloyd is 6-foot-7, so finding a handicapped-accessible vehicle to fit his height has been a bit of a challenge,” Laura Kalfs said. “He’s so tall, even his wheelchair had to be elevated so his feet could comfortably reach the foot rests.”
Family and friends throughout the Midwest are anticipated to attend the event.
“We know we can’t make it all better and make everything completely OK again, but we just want to make things a little easier on him and his family,” Larry Liepold said.
The Lloyd Kalfs Recovery Benefit is taking free-will donations, and all are welcome to attend.
Anyone who can’t attend the benefit may send donations made out to Family and Friends of Lloyd Kalfs at P.O. Box 12 Okabena, MN 56101.