Community rallies behind Fargo man who suffered life-changing injury
People across the metro say Oak Reile is an institution in the community
FARGO, N.D. — As the former assistant principal at Ben Franklin Middle School for over 20 years, there’s no question that Oak Reile touched the lives of many.
“Oak Reile could fill the Dome with the number of people he’s impacted,” says Ben Franklin principal Shane Martin. “This is the kind of person who would go to Scheels and buy shoes for kids. He’d go to Walmart and buy jackets and coats and things for kids who were needy.”
This summer, Oak suffered a fall that would change his life forever.
He fractured his neck and injured his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
In May, Oak was flown to Craig Hospital in Colorado to begin his recovery process and learn to walk once again.
“He’s certainly one of the most hardest working, most positive patients that they have ever had,” says Martin.
Craig doctors say Oak has been progressing exceptionally well.
As Oak receives treatment a few hundred miles away from home, those in the F-M area are giving back to the man who’s given his community plenty.
“You can tell the community loves Oak Reile because we’ve had a lot of gifts online and now through this online auction portal,” says Lend A Hand Up Director Jeana Peinovich.
The online auction through Lend A Hand Up wouldn’t be possible without friends, family, and even strangers donating items and services.
“I’m not very good at accepting help,” says Oak. “If I can go help somebody, that’s easy, but accepting help isn’t.”
He adds he’s speechless at the generosity the community has shown him, and he can’t wait to be back home among friends and family, including his 19 grandchildren; the youngest of whom he has not yet met.
“I want to come home,” Oak says. “It’ll be good to get home and see family and friends.”
“One day, he will be out and about or bouncing his grandkids on his knees or throwing a pass to them,” smiles Martin. “This is a gentleman that will not give up.”
Oak’s online auction ends Thursday.
Click here to access the auction and learn more about Oak.
Gifts made through Lend A Hand Up increase in value by 20 percent and directly help the person or family.