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Brian Willhide, Forum Communications Co., Published April 26 2012

'She did everything for this family'

JAMESTOWN, N.D. – Friends in Tappen, N.D., are helping a Jamestown man by putting on a benefit this weekend to raise funds for his family and honor his recently deceased wife.

The Troy Mittleider Benefit is scheduled for 4 p.m. Saturday at Tappen Town Hall.

Troy’s wife of almost nine years, Alicia Mittleider, died March 24 in the couple’s Jamestown home at age 29.

Troy, who drives truck for a living, said he came home from work the evening of March 24 only to find his 7-year-old daughter, Brydgette, concerned that her mother had not gotten out of bed.

Alicia had died earlier that day.

A Fargo native, Alicia worked at the Anne Carlsen Center for about four years.

“She was a hell of a woman,” Troy said. “She did everything for this family – she was a godsend, I tell you.”

Troy is now left to take care of the couple’s three daughters – Brydgette, 6-year-old Kayley and 19-month-old Paytynn.

“The kids are handling it better than I thought,” Troy said. “She (Alicia) loved them so much. We had such great times out on vacation or just hunting and fishing – being able to spend time together as a family meant the world to her.”

To help the Mittleider family financially, longtime friends Savannah Ganje and Heather Pfaff have been coordinating the benefit, which will include a spaghetti dinner, silent auction, gun raffle and bake sale.

“The silent auction will include about 75-100 items ranging from gift cards and floral arrangements to clothes and movie tickets,” said Pfaff, who has known Troy and Alicia for more than 10 years.

Troy said he cannot express enough how supportive Ganje, Pfaff and other friends and family have been since Alicia’s death.

“Something like this happens, and you really find out who your true friends are,” he said. “There are no words to describe how much I appreciate everyone’s help and how grateful I am.”

Troy said he and his family are in for a tough road ahead but said they will get through it.

“It’s going to be hard, but I’ve just got to push through,” he said. “There’s going to be lots of ups and downs but for now I’m just trying to be strong for everyone.”

Each night, Troy and his daughters sit down, read a book and speak to Alicia through their prayers.

“Kayley will sometimes say ‘I miss Mommy’ and I just tell her, ‘Mommy might not be here physically, but you just close your eyes and you can see her,’ ” he said.

The benefit begins at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Tappen Town Hall with a four-hour silent auction.

A spaghetti dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and a freewill offering will be collected.

A bake sale and gun raffle will follow the auction, which Ganje said will include five guns and a Nikon spotting scope.

For more information, contact Ganje at (701) 799-3047 or Pfaff at (701) 426-4691.

Brian Willhide writes for the Jamestown Sun

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