Family rallies for ‘Dad to everyone’

The 13 children, many in-laws and grandchildren of Dave and Christina Zabloski are raising funds to help pay for Dave's medical expenses after he suffered a massive stroke.

A Milaca clan is doing its best to help a man who has done so much for them. The 13 children, many in-laws and grandchildren of Dave and Christina Zabloski are combining efforts to raise money to pay for Dave’s hospital stay after he suffered a massive stroke Friday, April 27, and they’re asking for community support.

A Foley native, the 53-year-old Zabloski made Milaca his home nearly 20 years ago when he and Christina became a couple. With three children of his own, Dave didn’t back down from the responsibility of helping her raise the 10 she brought to the relationship. The four youngest are in the process of changing their last names to Zabloski as well.

“They were very little when he came along, so he’s Dad to them,” said Dave’s biological daughter Tabitha Zabloski. “He’s Dad to everyone.”

She and siblings Chris and Jessica joined the ranks with Daniel, Josh, DeAnn, Ryan, Amber, Ashley, Mathew, Jamie, Christopher and Nicole. It was a hectic household, but Dave provided the calming glue that held them all together.

Four years ago, the couple bought a “satellite” home in Watford City, N.D. to be closer to the action for their trucking business. Since then, they’ve been back and forth to Minnesota and their Milaca home, checking in with the kids and grand-kids.

“He’s amazing, loving, caring,” said step-daughter Ashley Brown. “He was there for everybody, no matter what. He put everybody before himself.”

The slow-to-anger, Dad-to-all, would allow his temper to show only in rare moments — such as when one of the six girls started dating.

“He liked to chase our boyfriends around the yard,” Tabitha said laughing.

In doing so, he also taught the girls the kind of qualities they should look for in their own partners through his relationship with Christina.

“He treats her like a queen,” Brown said. “He bought her a pink semi, for crying out loud, just because she said she wanted one.”

Mathew and Christopher have been in North Dakota, helping with the business, and the other children have rotated in and out as time and finances allow. Step-daughter Amber Manke was pulled early from her debriefing in Mississippi after her Minnesota National Guard unit returned from its deployment in Kuwait. Skipping her welcome home ceremony, the Red Cross flew her to Minneapolis, from which she drove straight to Bismarck.

The family said he’s still having difficulties making mental connections and processing information. He’s eager to see the grand-babies and get back on the road again.

Donations to help pay for Dave Zabloski’s medical expenses will be accepted at Casey’s General Store, and an account has been made at Bremer Bank. The family also plans to host a spaghetti supper at the Milaca American Legion soon.

“We hope to raise enough money so he can be transferred to the St. Cloud Hospital,” Brown said. “At least he’ll be closer to family.”

For the full story, see the Thursday, May 10 print edition of the Times.