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Principal stuck on wall, Nisswa School raises money for flight paramedic

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Margaret Macaulay, mother of Miles Weske, hugs her granddaughter Paige Weske while students look at a North Memorial Air Care helicopter. The chopper landed in the Nisswa Elementary School playground as part of the fundraiser for Miles Weske, who is recovering from serious injuries. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video2 / 3
Nisswa Elementary School Principal Molly Raske gets duct-taped to a wall as a part of a fundraiser for Miles Weske, who was injured in the North Memorial Air Care helicopter crash. Weske has children who are and were students at Nisswa. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery and Video3 / 3

Miles Weske, critically injured two weeks ago when the North Memorial Air Care helicopter he was in crashed, has opened his eyes, showing his family signs he is recovering.

The family received more good news Friday when Nisswa Elementary School, the community and North Memorial Medical Center ground and air crews showed their support with a fundraiser to help raise money for the family.

Weske's mother, Margaret Macaulay of Clear Lake, who has been at North Memorial in Robbinsdale to see her son every day, was at the fundraising event, along with two of her grandchildren, who are or were students in Nisswa. Ten-year-old Paige Weske, was a Nisswa student but graduated to the middle school in Pequot Lakes this year; and 8-year-old Jack Weske is still a student in Nisswa. Their mom, Jill Lauer, also attended the fundraiser.

Weske also has two sons, Lincoln Weske, 5, and Malachi Weske, 4, both of Brainerd; and a fiancee Brooklyn Weber and her daughter Reese.

"It's been awful," Macaulay said of watching her son in his fight to recover. "He did open his eyes and he tried to mouth something to Brooklyn. He has moved his arms and legs.

"We have a long way to go. ... He has had two back surgeries ... they pinned his femur and they are looking at doing another surgery on his ankle."

When asked what is getting her through this trying time, Macaulay said, "My love for him is getting me through this. ... And all the wonderful people who have supported him."

The school and community supported the family with the planned fundraiser, which included people donating to https://www.gofundme.com/milesweske, a gofundme account set up for Weske; or by purchasing a piece of duct tape for $1. That tape was used to stick Principal Molly Raske on the wall.

Between the two fundraisers, the school raised $3,790 for the family.

Raske said her husband came up with the duct tape fundraiser. He did it at the Baxter Elementary School last year and it was fun for the students.

"Our goal here is to raise awareness and funds for the Weske family," Raske said. "And to make Jack smile, which he did. He giggled and laughed when he duct taped me."

Jack had around 50 pieces of duct tape to put on the principal. He said he put one on her hair and some of her arms, legs and stomach.

Both Jack and Paige said it was nice to see the school support the family and they said it was fun to see Raske taped to the wall.

Paige said her dad is sweet and fun, and he has a good sense of humor and a big heart. Jack said their dad loves to spend time with them and they like to go camping. Jack said he also likes to play "Call of Duty" with his dad.

"This has been really hard on the kids," Lauer said. "Paige asks if she can see him every day. She is a tough little girl. Jack says 'Dad will be OK,' He knows his dad is tough."

Lauer and Macaulay both expressed their gratitude with the school, North Memorial and everyone who was involved with the fundraiser.

"This is such a wonderful school," Lauer said.

Amanda Svir, a flight nurse with North Memorial Air Care in Brainerd, was among the staff at the event. She said it was nice the Nisswa School planned a fundraising event for the family. She also said the event allowed North Memorial to show its support as ground and air members were present.

North Memorial flew its Brainerd-based helicopter to the school and landed twice beside the playground as students watched. One student looked at Jack and said 'You're so lucky," referring to how cool of a job he thought his dad has. Students were given the chance to tour the inside of the helicopter.

After the duct-taping was complete and the student body had its chance to check out the helicopter, the Nisswa school had its monthly rally.

Holly Olson led the Laker's Pride Rally and told the students the money was going to a good cause and they were "giving to one of their own." Olson thanked North Memorial for attending the fundraiser and rally and said they are appreciated.

Olson announced how much money was raised and said, "Mrs. Raske is looking good, wouldn't you say?" as she pointed to her on the wall of the gymnasium. Olson said the more duct tape on the principal means the more money raised to support the family.

"The duct tape on her means something," Olson said.

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