Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Club to hold Dru benefit

A fund-raiser tonight in Grand Forks for Dru Sjodin's family will be the sixth such large benefit for the UND student from Pequot Lakes, Minn., who hasn't been seen since authorities say she was abducted Nov. 22 from Columbia Mall.

A fund-raiser tonight in Grand Forks for Dru Sjodin's family will be the sixth such large benefit for the UND student from Pequot Lakes, Minn., who hasn't been seen since authorities say she was abducted Nov. 22 from Columbia Mall.

Dru's mother, Linda Walker, and a friend wrote thank-you notes Wednesday in her Pequot Lakes home to benefactors of previous fundraisers.

Today, Walker will be in Grand Forks for the "Living With Dru's Smile" benefit in the Celebrity Ballroom, sponsored by a variety of UND-related groups.

It begins at 7 p.m. and features nationally known comedians, a silent auction and a DJ-powered dance in the Crown Colony building on 42nd Street North and Sixth Avenue. Next door to the Ballroom, in Sensations nightclub, two UND-related bands, Fair Enough, and Hit Yellow 7, will play from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Admission at each venue is the same "$5 plus" recommended donation, and all proceeds will go to the Dru Sjodin fund, said Bill Korol, owner of the Crown Colony building.


Korol said many local businesses, groups and individuals are volunteering time and things for a big party.

Sjodin's sorority sisters will be in charge of collecting all donations tonight, Korol said.

The silent auction running from 7 to 10 p.m. includes many donated items, including a UND hockey jersey signed by all the players, Korol said.

A variety of food will be donated from several restaurants and food services.

"Everyone is donating their time and services to make sure this is successful," Korol said.

$16,000 raised Last Thursday, a Dru Sjodin benefit in Majors nightclub in Bloomington, Minn. "was unbelievable," Walker said. "There were over a thousand people; it was a 45-minute wait to get in. All the generosity was just unbelievable."

More than $16,000 was raised at the benefit, said Dru's boyfriend Chris Lang, who organized it.

The silent auction included a baseball signed by San Francisco Giants star and homerun king Barry Bonds and signed items from Minnesota Vikings Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss, Walker said.


Walker said she doesn't know the exact total raised so far in five benefits but said it's less than $100,000.

The largest part of it was raised Dec. 23 when Zorbaz Pizza & Mexican in Crosslake, Minn., held a benefit that attracted about 600 people and raised a total of $63,000, between a silent auction and a door charge, said Mike Lommen, Zorbaz manager. That benefit included many people from nearby Pequot Lakes as well as Lang's hometown of Crosslake.

Smaller benefits were held in December in the Radisson in Bloomington, and in Karlstad, Minn., - Allan Sjodin's hometown - and in January in Playmakers in Fargo.

All the funds raised go toward the effort to find Dru, said Allan Sjodin, who lives and works in the Twin Cities but has hardly missed a week looking for his daughter since Nov. 22. "I've put my life on hold," he said.

The support for Dru and her family has extended in other ways, too. Wednesday, Linda Walker took delivery from a local florist of 150 pink bows with which she and others planned to decorate "Dru's Spruce" along her driveway.

On Mother's Day, a new garden at Pequot Lakes city hall will be dedicated to Dru, Walker said.

Walker has attended all but one of the benefits to thank the givers and says she's overwhelmed with the kindness shown.

She manages the bank account for Dru's donations.


The money goes mainly to paying expenses for those who have been spending much of their time looking for Dru. That includes relatives and friends, such as Bob Heales, the Denver private investigator with Crosslake connections, and Denny Adams, who runs a search dog operation in Condi, S.D.

"I pay for all the hotels and any incidentals, and lots of time send off checks to people who have spent an inordinate amount of time away from work," Walker said. "I try to make sure they are compensated. People have taken loans out, and I have caught wind of that and gone in and paid their loans off."

She's also used the money to keep Dru's face before the public, paying some of the costs of a billboard campaign.

The Ramada Inn in Grand Forks has been "very generous," giving Sjodin searchers a discount, Walker said.

"We all miss her deeply and are looking for that resolve, praying that we get it sooner than later," Walker said. "Every day is getting closer."

What To Read Next
Get Local