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Clipping for a good cause

By Staff | Apr 17, 2011

To some he’s a cut above the rest.

The display of deep-rooted friendships proves it.

A benefit dinner for long-time barber Dale Bleess is scheduled from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the American Legion in Blue Earth.

In January, Bleess had unanticipated leg amputation surgery.

By March, a four-member committee formed to help raise funds to help pay medical costs not covered by health insurance.

Donna Bussinger graduated with Dale and his wife, Karen, from Blue Earth High School in 1968.

She says another former classmate — Nancy Steinberger — contacted her to see what could be done to help.

“He is a good friend. There’s a lot of volunteers and people working behind the scenes on the benefit,” she says. “It has really snow-balled.”

Up in the morning by 6 a.m., if not earlier, Bleess misses his customers and the routine of being to work by 7 a.m.

Bleess says he and his wife appreciate the kindness and are overwhelmed.

“I always knew people in small towns were nice, but I can’t believe the support and get-well cards I have gotten,” he says. “People have been calling me and stopping to say hi when they see me. It’s been super.”

Two members of a different alumni group have stepped up to offer their services.

Former local barbers Butch Erichsrud of Blue Earth and Darrell Lange of Winnebago have been operating Bleess’ barbershop while he’s recovering.

“I hadn’t picked up clippers in 33 years,” says Erichsrud. “I wanted to help Dale keep his shop open. He has a pretty good business and has been part of downtown a long time.”

Erichsrud has been working full-time for the past three months and Lange began last month after returning from wintering in Arizona.

Lange, who sold his barbershop four years ago, has known Bleess for 35 years, — so helping a friend was only natural.

“We were never in competition with each other. On my day off I’d come over here and have Dale cut my hair,” he says.

On Tuesday morning, Lange was cutting Darrel Hacklander’s hair.

“Gosh. I’ve been a customer a long time,” Hacklander says. “I surely miss Dale, even though we don’t talk too much when he cuts my hair.”

Erichsrud and Bleess have some history.

The person who bought Erichsrud’s barbershop hired Bleess.

“I actually bought some of Butch’s equipment when he quit,” Bleess says.

Although he’s not sure when he’ll return to work, Bleess did give his three grandsons and son-in-law haircuts on Saturday, April 9.

“It took awhile, longer than normal. It was more difficult cutting while sitting down. It wasn’t easy,” he says.

Erichsrud and Lange plan to split up the workload until Bleess returns.

Erichsrud took a couple of days last week for a break.

“It’s been hard work and quite an experience,” says Erichsrud. “Darrell and I are glad to help out a friend.”

Funds raised at the benefit will be matched by Thrivent Chapter 31181.

The meal is being provided by the Faribault County Pork Producers and Dan Klinkner.

Donations may be sent to:

Dale Bleess Benefit Fund, First Bank Blue Earth, PO Box 40, Blue Earth, MN, 56013.