Alex Olmsted fundraiser exceeds expectations
By Erik Buchinger
The Clintonville Lanes & Banquet Hall was filled with people on Friday, March 31 to celebrate the life of 9-year-old boy Alex Olmsted, who died in January in a semi versus car accident.
The event greatly exceeded expectations with donations, attendees and money raised.
One of the organizers of the event, Amy Kersten, said the number of people in attendance was incredible.
“We raised over $45,000, and so many people were there it’s hard to put an estimate on it,” Kersten said. “We were hoping for about 500 people to be there. We didn’t know what to expect, but we had double or triple what we originally planned.”
Kersten said Alex’s parents Jerald and Lisa Olmsted were overwhelmed by the amount of support from the Clintonville community that stopped by.
“They thought it was amazing,” Kersten said. “It was amazing that this many people would come out to support our cause. It was incredible.”
Because of the amount of people at the event, people had to park on the streets or other locations, and some were unable to get into the building.
“There were so many people there we couldn’t even walk,” Kersten said. “It was amazing support from our community.”
A fish fry was scheduled to start at 6 p.m., but it started early because of how many people showed up before then.
The band Led West was scheduled to perform from 8 p.m. till midnight, but it was pushed back to 8:45 p.m., and the band concluded around 1 a.m.
There were also basket raffles, 50/50 raffles and a silent auction that brought in the money.
Kersten said money raised will go to local parks in Clintonville and possibly Bear Creek. Another portion will be donated to the Barron County EMS where the accident happened as well as local EMS.
One way to contribute donations is to call Kersten at 715-851-1701.
“Donations still coming in,” Kersten said. “For us not having presale tickets, that’s $45,000 just on Friday night. I know some people didn’t get to send money because they didn’t even get into the hall because it was literally wall to wall full of people. If you got in, good luck getting anywhere. It was nuts, and it was amazing.”
Kersten said she left around 2 a.m., and there were still several people at the event.
Kersten said she was most impressed with how the community responded in just a few weeks of planning.
“Our little group of people did this in five weeks,” Kersten said. “That’s the part that’s just so amazing that this could take place in this short period of time. People can take a year to plan something, and we were able to do this in such a short period of time. There were a bunch of people that helped – quite a group effort to say the least, and it was a good time.”