As the healing process begins for family and friends of Dustin Bajerski, a benefit Friday will help with the financial woes.
Bajerski, of Bellevue, died Tuesday morning -- one week before his 18th birthday -- in a car accident at Strecker and Kelley roads in Milan Township.
The benefit will be 5 to 9 p.m. Friday at Fun Zone family entertainment center, 7602 Milan Road. Thirty percent of the proceeds will go toward medical and funeral costs for Bajerski's family, said Robin Kennedy, co-owner.
Gifts will be auctioned with the proceeds going to the family, said Kennedy, whose 16-year-old daughter was a close friend of Dustin's.
"It was real devastating to hear this," Kennedy said. "He cared about everybody. He was a good kid who was inspiring. He was one of those kids who would never turn you away for anything."
While many wanted to be left alone to deal with the tragedy, others reflected on his personality and the impact Dustin had on their lives.
His personality will be missed most, said friend Samantha Hartley, 17, of Sandusky.
"He was caring. He really loved his family. He was very loyal," Hartley said. "If he put his mind to something, he made sure he conquered it."
Hartley said she had known Dustin since fourth grade when they attended school together in Sandusky.
"If you needed anything he would help you out to his fullest," Hartley said.
"He always had a blast," said his friend Brittany Bores. "He was always drawing awesome pictures and was always happy, respected everyone around."
Dustin's friends labeled him as a friendly, outgoing guy who loved music and mixed martial arts and wanted to compete in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) one day.
"If there was someone around that no one liked or was nice to, he was there," Bores said. "He had so many friends and was important to so many people. He will be remembered as a great friend, and there will be no one around to take his place ever."
Bores said Bajerski will always be remembered by those who loved him and those he loved.
"He was supposed to get a tattoo in memory of people he loved with their names on it," she said. "Now someone can get his tattoo design and add his name in memory of him and who he was."
Bajerski lost his life Tuesday morning enroute to EHOVE, where he was enrolled in Visual Communications Design.
His mother, Lynn W. Wiley, 45, also of Bellevue, was driving their four-door sedan and ran a stop sign, crashing into a tractor-trailer driven by Mark Zeiter, 43, of Collins, Ohio, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Wiley was taken to Fisher-Titus Medical Center in Norwalk, where she was in the intensive care unit Tuesday night. The hospital no longer listed Wiley as a patient Wednesday.
Carol Zeiter, mother of Mark Zeiter, said Wednesday her son was devastated and slowly recovering.
"He's not doing real good," she said. "He's out of the hospital, but he's in quite a bit of pain mentally and physically. He's doing the best he can."
No citations have been issued. The crash is still being investigated, according to the patrol.
EHOVE principal Greg Edinger said the school had a moment of silence for Dustin Wednesday morning.
"We're just in the early stages," Edinger said. "We're making sure we inform everyone and provide support to them through our staff and trained counselors."
Dustin also attended Monroeville High School, where grief counseling was made available to students Wednesday.
Calling hours will be 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. Sunday at Foos and Foos Funeral Service, 151 Yorkshire Place, Bellevue, where the funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Monday. Memorials may be made to the family through the funeral home.
Anyone interested in attending the Friday benefit at Fun Zone can call to RSVP at 419-625-9663. Donations outside of the benefit are also being collected, Kennedy added.
How to help:
What: Benefit and auction for Dustin Bajerski's family
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday
Where: Fun Zone, 7602 Milan Road
Donations will be collected at Fun Zone or may be made to the family through the funeral home.
Many paid respect to Dustin Bajerski through online posts:
Jessie Rollins wrote on Dec. 12, 2007 10:02 AM: "We will all miss him so very much. He was such a good kid. I will keep all his family and friends in my prayers. I hope you do to. I just wish i could do more."
Erica Kipps wrote on Dec. 12, 2007 9:54 AM: "Dustin i'll miss you you'll be close to my heart forever i'll never forget you RIP!!!!!
A mom wrote on Dec. 12, 2007 8:01 AM: " May God bless your loving soul and guide you to the blessed garden's to spend the rest of eternity. May your soul rest in peace sweet boy. "