Benefit planned for local woman battling brain tumor

Louise Oleson Journal Managing Editor
Bobbi Otis

The people of Devils Lake, more than any other community in North Dakota, respond compassionately whenever there is a need and hardly a month will go by without a benefit to help someone who is going through a health crisis or some other difficulty.

Through the years we at the Devils Lake Journal have written countless stories about those individuals and their families and now it is our turn. One of our own is in need and we are stepping up to give her and her family a helping hand and asking this community, one more time to give generously.

Bobbi Otis was born in the later 1950s in northern Iowa and attended the early grades there before her family moved to Henning, Minn. She graduated from high school in Henning and attended technical school training in Detroit Lakes beginning a life-long career of working in the restaurant, bar and hotel business.

She met Greg in 1983 when he was the Assistant Manager of the Holiday Inn in Fergus Falls and they began their married life together in 1984. The Otis family grew to three when Levi came along shortly after that, then Ashley two years later and Billy is their youngest.

After working for hotels in Detroit Lakes and Rochester, Minn. the family moved to Bismarck, ND, for a year, back to Minnesota for six years while Greg worked at Mystic Lake Casino.

That experience brought him back to his hometown of Devils Lake in 1996 when someone was needed to help establish what is known now as the Spirit Lake Casino. Though that job only lasted a little more than a year, the Otis family decided this would be their home. Greg worked for the Comfort Inn for seven years, the Devils Lake Chamber for five, the Holiday Inn Express for two and has now been with the Pizza Ranch for three years.

Meanwhile Bobbi worked at the ND School for the Deaf in the kitchen and later for Community Options, both positions, according to Greg, show her love, empathy and compassion as she worked with students and clients who often had special needs.

One of her favorite projects each year was the concession booth for Devils Run that she and her fellow members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church worked.

That brings her up to the present.

After major back surgery in Sept. of 2010 Bobbi embarked on a new adventure - working  in the advertising department at the Devils Lake Journal. It was while in her first year of that new adventure that she was diagnosed with an inoperable, benign brain tumor and is presently unable to work.

She is undergoing radiation to shrink the tumor and improve her quality of life at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. While there she is able to stay with her sister who is a nurse at Abbot Northwestern, but the bills and expenses are mounting up.

Her coworkers at the Journal are putting on fundraisers to help their colleague and friend through this difficult time.

Baking for Bobbi

The first is a bake sale which will take place in the Devils Lake Journal lobby on Thursday, Sept. 13 starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. or when we run out of baked goods - whichever comes first.

Benefit for Bobbi

We will also be having a benefit supper for her at Lotta’s on Friday starting at 5 p.m. until gone - serving meatballs, gravy, mashed potatoes and corn for a free-will offering. Accompanying the benefit supper will be a silent auction and live auction filled with hand-made and donated items from individuals and businesses throughout the community.

We will also be selling chances on slabs of bacon to raise funds.

How can you help?

•You can help by donating an item for the benefit’s silent auction or live auction. Make up a fun basket of items that can be auctioned off or donate an item that can be coupled with another basket or an item for one of the auctions.

•Stop by the Journal on Thursday, Sept. 13 and buy some baked goods.

•Join us at the benefit on Friday, Sept. 14 at Lotta’s, located at the corner of 4th Street and 4th Avenue in downtown Devils Lake.

•Volunteers are needed to help both Thursday and Friday. Contact Kris Olson at the Journal if you want to volunteer.