Benefit aids man in derby explosion

Published 9:17 am Thursday, August 19, 2010

Area residents are invited to attend a benefit Aug. 28 for the 26-year-old Blue Earth man who was badly burned when his demolition derby car exploded in June at the Worth County Fair in Northwood, Iowa.

The event, for derby driver Matt Ertman, will begin at 4 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Faribault County Fairgrounds in Blue Earth. It will include food, a live and silent auction, and a raffle drawing.

Matt received severe burns on his upper body from the explosion on June 27 after he struck another demolition derby car. Nine gallons of gas had blown up in his face. Following the explosion, he was flown to the burn unit at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, where he spent nine days.

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His brother, Jeremy Ertman, said doctors told Matt he had burned about 16 percent of his upper body.

Matt’s entire face from his ears forward was burned, and he has already undergone a skin graft on his right arm, from his wrist to his shoulder, Jeremy said. Matt’s face is sensitive to heat, cold and sunlight but is on track to healing, though it may be a long process.

“He’s doing really, really well,” Jeremy said, noting Matt is planning to be in attendance at the benefit.

The benefit will include a hog roast with side food options provided by Mrs. Gerry’s Kitchen, and McDonald’s and Pepsi have donated drinks.

Donations for the meal will be accepted.

The silent auction will feature demolition derby products donated from throughout the United States, Armor All car packages, along with other items, Jeremy said. Auction donations are still coming in.

The live auction will feature two complete shells of derby cars.

“I think we have a little bit of everything for everybody,” he said.

The raffle drawing will be for a choice between a chance to drive a built derby car for the night of Sept. 4 or $500.

Jeremy said raffle tickets are $10 a piece and he has already ran out of tickets twice.

The drawing will be at 8 p.m.

If people have items they wish to donate or have other questions, they can call Jeremy at 507-525-4290 or Todd Heenan at 507-525-4425.

Jeremy said he wanted to thank Masters of Disaster, who helped organize the derby the day of Matt’s injury, for all the support they have given the family since the explosion.

“They’re really doing a lot to help my brother out,” he said, noting that they have put donation boxes at every one of their derbies.

All proceeds will go toward Matt’s medical expenses.