by Dennis Dalman
On a brutally hot day, a big crowd gathered to honor a deceased worker and his surviving family last Sunday on the grounds of the Bernick’s Arena in Sartell.
The event, from 1-5 p.m. was a fundraiser to help the family of Jon Maus, who was 50 when he died May 28 in the explosion at the Verso Paper Co. in Sartell. He is survived by his wife, Lucy, and their four children: Anthony, Philip, Olivia and Veronica. They live on the family farm just north of Albany.
Lucy spoke briefly at the event, thanking everyone for the moral support that has helped sustain her and her children through their ordeal.
During the day, people purchased foods and plenty of lemonade and beer to ward off the heat. Some people brought umbrellas as portable shade devices. Throughout the afternoon, a local Beatles cover band known as “Revolution 5” played dozens of classic songs.
Sartell Mayor Joe Perske, at the July 23 city council meeting, praised the Maus Family event as a strong showing of support both for Maus’s survivors and for Verso, as well as a communitywide hope the plant will open again.
The Maus Family fundraiser was organized by Vern Barthel of Sauk Rapids, a Verso employee who worked with Maus. Barthel’s children, Lisa and Aaron, were also key to organizing the event. Aaron is a member of Revolution 5, which donated its musical talents to the cause. Many other businesses and individuals contributed to the fundraisers’ success, including Verso and its employees, Westside Liquor and volunteer city staff – to name just some.