Community Helps Helicopter Crash Survivor With Benefit
On June 28th, Josh Duda’s life was changed forever as the North Memorial helicopter he was flying in that night crashed and took the lives of two members on board. Duda survived, but with serious injuries.
After a month and a half of recovering, Duda is now out of the hospital and with his family. To support the Duda family, local community members got together and put on a benefit at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd.
“Josh is with us this evening and we are so excited he’s out of the hospital and he could be here tonight,” said Northland Arboretum Bookkeeper Nancy Cross.
When word got out that Duda would be out of the hospital soon, it didn’t take long to organize an event.
“We said, ‘OK, let’s do a dinner, let’s do a silent auction, we’ll raise as much money as we can,'” said Cross.
The donations from members of the community just kept coming.
“We sent out kind of a request to some businesses and people and it just kind of spread by word, they have just been flocking in; actually, [executive director Vicki Foss’s] office was so full that she could hardly get to her desk,” said Northland Arboretum Volunteer Coordinator Sue Bell.
“Being part of the EMS community, we’re public safety, we’re always there for other people, so in an event like this everyone is more than willing and it’s awesome to see or community come out for us when one of us is hurt,” said North Memorial Paramedic Karlene Lind.
The amount of people that showed up to the Josh Duda benefit shows the kind of person that he is.
“He’s always super happy, super friendly, one of the nicest persons you’ll ever meet, very sociable, he’s gone out for our community, so the community is coming out for him,” said Lind.
In times of difficult situations like this, the Brainerd Lakes area steps up and shows what it’s all about.
“The Brainerd Lakes area as a whole is probably the most giving community I’ve been apart of,” said Cross.
“We are probably one of the most friendliest, the most giving communities there are around here,” said Bell.
“Our community has shown wonderful support for him in this event and how awful it came, but we can have something great out of something awful,” said Lind.
“One community member putting your hand on another guy’s shoulder, and it’s just that ripple effect and it’s just the community coming together to help one of our own out,” said Bell.
All donations for Duda and his family can go to Bremer Bank in the name of Josh Duda.