BIG LAKE COBORN’S raised $1,500 for the Big Lake Fire Dept. during the month of May through the sale of buttons, t-shirts and brats. Sherri Lommel and Store Manager Mitch Utecht presented Big Lake Fire fighters Jason Smith and Lyle Lommel with the funds in appreciation of all their efforts on behalf of the community. (Submitted photo).

Coborns leads $1500 effort for fire rescue

Staff Writer
Jennifer Edwards
Big Lake Coborn’s Manager Mitch Utecht stumbled on a great idea, to support Big Lake, thanks to his employees.
“The employee's are always looking for a reason to dress down,” he said. “So I came up with an idea to take that wish and turn it into some funds for our Big Lake Fire Dept. 
Coborn's purchased 100 I support Big Lake Fire Rescue buttons and sold them for $10 each. Any employee who bought a button could wear jeans and a red shirt on all five Fridays in May. 
All of the money raised from the button sales was donated to the fire department. Once this was made known to the staff, some of them came up with the idea of having t-shirts made as well, Utecht said. 
“We sold 30 of the t-shirts and the profits were also donated,” Utecht said. “Then the staff wanted to take turns running the brat stand for two weekends to raise even more money. “
What started out as a way for employee's to dress down started to grow legs and become bigger than Utecht ever dreamed as the project seemed to take on a life of its own.
“Once our shoppers found out what we were doing, they wanted to join the cause by  buying and wearing buttons as well,” Utecht said. “Then some local businesses joined in too.” 
Within a week, all the employee's at Dr. Kyle Skjei’s Lake Dental had purchased and were wearing buttons. 
“I was starting to see how willing our community is to help their local fire fighters if just given the chance,” Utecht said.
“We had a customer at the brat stand put a $20 bill in the donation jar as he walked by. He said it was for a great cause, and he was not the only one.” 
By the end of May their efforts had raised $1,500, which they donated to the fire department.
“It is now our goal to make this a yearly event and continue to move the bar higher by getting the local businesses, and community more involved,” Utrecht said. 
“We hope someday that we see the whole town of Big Lake all wearing red shirts on the Fridays in May to show support for our local  fire and rescue volunteers,” he said.


A CAR FIRE IN THE PARKING LOT outside Great River Spine and Sport totaled the vehicle as Big Lake Fire Department had to use the jaws of life to open the hood while the flames were so hot they melted the tires and the snow flakes fell. (Photo by Jennifer Edwards).

Jenna and Dan Nygaard visit with Friends of the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge President Bruce Johnson, who is holding a beaver pelt.

DR. PATRICIA NEE and Craig Broman. (Submitted photo.)

William Edward King

Muriel Elizabeth Millam