by Dennis Dalman
After two beloved Sartell fathers died of ALS, so many Sartell students who knew them and their children felt the grief along with the families and decided to turn their sadness into action.
They sold homecoming T-shirts to make money. And recently, the Sartell High School Student Council was honored with the Good Neighbor award from State Farm Insurance for raising $3,000 for the ALS Association. The donation was given in honor of Scott Raden and Brent Weber, the two men who both died at tragically young ages.
ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive disease that affects the motor neurons of the spinal cord and (in some cases) the brain, causing the muscles to atrophy. ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease because it took the life of that legendary baseball player. So far, there is no effective treatment or cure for the disease, although management strategies are available. About 20,000 Americans suffer from the disease, and many famous Americans have died of it, including jazz musician Charlie Mingus, U.S. Army Gen. Maxwell Taylor and NFL football players Steve Gleason, O.J. Brigance and Tim Shaw. Most recently the disease contributed to the death of English physicist and author Stephen Hawking.
The student council fundraiser for the ALS Association was the annual effort dubbed “Homecoming for a Cause,” said Karrie Fredrickson, faculty advisor for the student council.
There are 54 members of the Sartell Student Council. In the past two years, the council raised money for two Make a Wish projects – one for young student Jackson Stewart to get him a golf-cart car, the other for student Sophia Lathe to give her a trip to Disney World.
“The council members like to celebrate the good,” Fredrickson said.
“So many students had connection with the Weber and Raden families that they thought it would be good to raise money in an effort to help that disease from continuing,” Fredrickson said. “The Weber and Raden families live across the street from each other, and they have touched a lot of people’s lives.”
Fredrickson teaches leadership and advanced-placement psychology.
Brent Weber, 48, died on July 16, at home surrounded by his family. He had battled ALS for two years.
He and his wife, Kelly, have four children: Blake, Abby, Morgan and Mallory.
Weber, who earned a degree in business and management from St. John’s University, was employed with C.H. Robinson Worldwide and was its general manager until his retirement in 2016.
Weber loved sports – all kinds of sports throughout his life. A three-sport athlete in high school, he earned all-conference honors in football, basketball and baseball. At SJU, he competed in baseball, earning All-MIAC honors as a pitcher.
After college, he was signed to play professional ball with the Atlanta Braves and played Class A ball for the Idaho Falls Braves. He also played for many amateur teams and was never so happy as when coaching youth teams for many years.
Weber served as president of the Sartell Baseball Association from 2009-16. He loved caring for his well-kept lawn and looked forward every year to boating with his children and to the annual Weber fishing trip to Canada.
He was a member of St. Francis Xavier Church in Sartell.
His loved ones had this to say at his funeral.
“During his ALS journey, Brent didn’t question or waver in his faith. Instead, he accepted his disease, grew in his faith and was an example of strength, courage and bravery to all who knew him.”
Scott Raden, 54, died on Sept. 2, at home with his family at his side.
He and his wife, Pamela, have two children: Tianna and TJ. Pamela is a member of the Sartell-St. Stephen school board.
Raden earned a degree in marketing from St. Cloud Technical College and worked as marketing director for seven years at Crossroads Center in St. Cloud. Later, he joined the Johnson Group marketing firm of St. Cloud and eventually, with his wife, assumed ownership of the firm.
Raden relished the company of family and friends and enjoyed traveling the world with his two children, as well as an annual golf trip with buddies. He loved sports and coached football, baseball, basketball and softball for his young children. He also participated in softball and volleyball leagues throughout the Central Minnesota area.
His favorite sport, however, was golf, which he played frequently with family and friends at hundreds of golf courses throughout the world.
Raden was a member of St. Francis Xavier Church in Sartell.
In his obituary, it stated, “He (Raden) leaves a legacy that will never be separated from the game (golf). His greatest joy was to be able to live and play the game through his son, TJ.”