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Emily Welker, Published September 28 2013

Benefit for Bolstad slowed by weather woes

If you go

What: Lexi Bolstad Benefit

When: Today, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., with freewill donation lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Vic’s Aircraft Sales and Flight Training, 1631 19th Ave. N. Fargo

Info: $20 airplane rides, P-51 rides, stationary aircraft and vintage cars displays, hypnotist

How to help: Send donations c/o Alexis Bolstad Family, Vision Bank, 3000 25th St. S., Fargo ND 58102

FARGO – Into each life a little rain must fall, they say. But after a day of rain the sunshine came out, appropriately enough, for day one of a weekend aviation-themed benefit for injured Davies High School senior Alexis (Lexi) Bolstad.

“We had a handicap with the weather today,” admitted organizer Allan Skramstad, as he sat indoors Saturday at Vic’s Aircraft Sales and Flight Training in north Fargo.

Outside the windows, the sun was just beginning to emerge from behind the clouds that dogged the morning of the event. “We had people lined up here at 8 this morning. … Some people have come back this afternoon.”

The rainy weather didn’t fit with an agreement Skramstad said organizers had struck with the Federal Aviation Administration officials and the air traffic control tower regarding the $20 airplane rides on offer at the event. The FAA allowed flights to take off starting at about 2:30 p.m.

However, the freewill donation lunch had attracted about 130 people by 3 in the afternoon, Skramstad said. One of them was Debbie Scherr, of Jamestown, Bolstad’s aunt.

“Every day you can see progress,” Scherr said of her 17-year-old niece’s rehabilitation at Craig Hospital in Denver. Bolstad was injured in an Aug. 4 accident in which she fell off an electric vehicle.

Scherr said the outpouring of love and support from the community since then has meant a great deal to the Bolstad family. Bolstad’s father wanted to attend, Scherr said, but was unable to make it and sent his regrets.

Scherr recalled the first few days at Fargo’s Essentia Hospital learning of her niece’s injury, which she said left the teen at one point with part of her skull removed to accommodate brain swelling.

“I’m going to cry – this girl is the hardest-working girl ever,” she said, adding that Bolstad has spent every day at Craig Hospital doing exercises to try to regain speech and mobility.

Ten of Bolstad’s Davies High classmates spent the afternoon serving lunch at the benefit, and another 10 planned to attend today, Skramstad said. Three of her father Jon Bolstad’s colleagues at the north side Fargo Fire Department brought a firetruck by the benefit earlier Saturday morning.

Skramstad said the fall colors appear to be about a week away from peaking, making for prime viewing for folks interested in airplane rides.

The rides head south along the Red River over Davies High School to give people a look at Bolstad’s school, Skramstad said. Bolstad was a standout high school athlete in volleyball, basketball and shot put before her injury.

Skramstad, who had no prior connection with the Bolstad family other than attending the same church, said he was moved to help in memory of his daughter, whom he lost in a car crash 11 years ago.

The benefit also offers static aircraft and vintage car displays, a hypnotist, and P-51 Mustang aircraft rides through the day today.

As for the weather, “It seems to be breaking now,” Skramstad said, looking up at the cloudy sky.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Emily Welker at (701) 241-5541