Nearly 500 people from Walworth and Campbell Counties and beyond faced sub-zero temperatures and bone chilling wind gusts on Sunday to show their support to the Mike Hirsch family, Mike, Doria, Carson, 9, Camden, 7, and Drake, 17 weeks, during a benefit dinner and auction. Sponsored by the Java Community Club, a sumptuous roast pork feed was prepared by chef Jim Houck of Akaska and served by volunteers too numerous to mention. It was followed by a silent auction with an array of baskets of goodies including food for the body and soul and potions for pampering. Herman Schumacher of Herreid conducted the live auction that followed assisted by auctioneer Casey Perman of Mobridge and J.R. Scott of Herreid. From power generators to comfy quilts in a kaleidoscope of colors, miniature John Deere collectible farm implements to a collectible rifle, there was something for everyone with some very competitive bidding for a very worthy cause.Life for Mike was changed forever on December 20, when the Java farmer and rancher lost the majority of his right hand in a farming accident. Transferred to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn., by CareFlight, Mike underwent surgery to try and re-transplant two of his fingers and save the rest of his arm. The transplant was unsuccessful. He has begun occupational therapy.
“He needs to undergo another surgery,” Doria said, “but he met with prosthesis specialists in Minneapolis, Minn., and Sioux Falls. The money the benefit raised will go towards the prosthesis and medical expenses. The prosthesis will allow him to work with his cattle, even having the ability to manipulate the syringe for vaccinating them, and drive a tractor and four-wheeler. He will also be able to throw a ball and most importantly just be a dad to his boys.
“It was overwhelming to see how many people came out to show their support to Mike, on an evening with such nasty weather,” Linda Gill, coordinator of the event, said. “We could not have asked for a better turnout and the benefit was definitely a success. It was worth all the work we put into it.”