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Benefit being held for Dunn Center teen after reconstructive surgery

DUNN CENTER--The tight-knit community of Dunn Center is coming together to help a teenager who recently graduated from Killdeer High School. Dakota Brekke, 19, graduated last spring. In July, he suffered major injuries stemming from an assault. O...

A benefit for Dakota Brekke will be held in Dunn Center today to help with the financial burden the teen obtained after having to have reconstructive surgery after being assaulted. (Submitted Photo)
A benefit for Dakota Brekke will be held in Dunn Center today to help with the financial burden the teen obtained after having to have reconstructive surgery after being assaulted. (Submitted Photo)

DUNN CENTER-The tight-knit community of Dunn Center is coming together to help a teenager who recently graduated from Killdeer High School.

Dakota Brekke, 19, graduated last spring. In July, he suffered major injuries stemming from an assault.

On July 23, Brekke was assaulted in Turtle Lake by two juvenile males who repeatedly attacked him. Friends of Brekke say the assault was unprovoked and that Brekke didn't know the boys who assaulted him.

He suffered broken bones to his face-including to his eye, cheek and jaw-which would need surgery to reconstruct.

Brekke had reconstructive surgery three weeks ago and Christy Reems, a close friend of the family that employees Brekke, said the surgeon from the Bismarck Face and Jaw Surgery Center said it was one of the most extensive injuries he has ever seen, including the hundreds of surgeries he has performed generally from severe car accidents.

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"He also said in less severe cases like his, where his cheekbone and his orbital bone had to be repaired-it was completely shattered, he said-people usually lose partial loss of vision or are completely blind in that eye," Reems said. "He said basically it was a miracle that Dakota had his eyesight because everything was completely shattered and torn apart."

She said the last time she saw Brekke he looks really good and he has no outward scarring, but a second surgery may have to be performed because his eye is sinking back in.

Reems said she can't imagine anyone being that cruel and how it must be affecting Brekke.

"I think when you take a beating like he took, it's kind of like telling someone that they aren't worth anything," she said.

Shaela Larkin and her husband, Jason, took Brekke "under their wings" a few years ago, Reems said.

Larkin said the benefit is going to be important to Brekke after such a traumatic experience.

"It's going to mean so much to him," she said. "He's got so many people rooting for him and supporting him through this whole process.

Larkin said it took a few weeks for Brekke to start feeling like himself but now he is in good spirits.

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While the benefit is to help with the financial burden Brekke has obtained, Reems said it's also to let him know how many people care about him.

"I'm more concerned with the emotional damage, the emotional toll," she said. "You can tell it's really affected him, which is completely understandable but I think that's probably going to be a long haul for him. That was the thing we said from the get-go was that we wanted Dakota to realize was how important he is to so many people."

She said that Brekke is a kind-hearted, hard working young man who she can't say enough good things about.

"The first time I met Dakota there was just something about him that made me want to reach out and hug him," she said. "You can just tell that he is a very good kid. I have a lot of respect for him."

The benefit which will have a dinner, live auction and dance is to help fund the more than $15,000 in medical expenses Brekke has compiled for facial reconstructive surgery.

The event will be at the DC Pub & Grub in Dunn Center on Saturday with dinner from 4:30 p.m. until 6:30 p.m., a live auction at 7 p.m. and the E-Z Street band will start playing at 8:30 p.m.

Reems said she and Cheryl Boyce-who employs Brekke for work on their ranch-immediately started planning a benefit within two days of the assault because they knew Brekke would need help.

"We just said, 'We have got to do something,'" Reems said. "It just kind of snowballed to this point where we have people calling us wanting to donate."

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Reems said one of the first things Brekke was concerned about was how he was going to pay his bills, especially payments on the used truck he had bought the week before the incident.

"It's all beat up but he was so proud of that because he bought that," she said. "He saved the money for the down payment. Then he set up with the bank to pay for the rest of it. The way he acted was like it was a brand new, fancy Dodge instead of a really old one. But that's the part of Dakota that I really love-just his whole outlook. He's just such a good kid."

Larkin said she hopes people come out to not only help financially but celebrate Brekke.

"We're going to have a good time (Saturday)," she said. "(We're going to) just celebrate that he's recovering and you know that he has a good life ahead of him and that he is a good person. We're just going to celebrate him too."

If you go

What: Dakota Brekke Medical Benefit

When: Starting at 4:30 today

Where: DC Pub & Grub, Dunn Center

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