The Monster of Red Lake Falls

Editors Note:  This is a serious issue that affects many Americans.  Nothing is being done for them.  Let’s get the word out to everyone we can.  Awareness of the issues can help bring great change. 

By Sarcasmo Jones

Tragedy strikes like lightning and eventually touches every person on earth.  A tragedy is usually an event that strikes us or our loved ones and then gives us time to mourn, heal, and rebuild.  What if a tragedy was not just an event, but a way of life?  What if the initial event provided no respite and was merely the catalyst for a permanent misery?  What if the people who are supposed to help you were actually monsters in disguise working against you?  What if this was you…

Minnesota resident Darin Syverson suffered a heart attack on New Year’s Eve, 2008.  Child support payments left Darin eligible for a modicum of medical assistance, and what money he did have saved was quickly drained to pay for life-saving open heart surgery.  Darin worked as a painting subcontractor, working for several larger firms, like Paws Inc.  As a consequence of his vocation, Syverson was exposed to toxic vapors, dry fog, and paint chemicals for over 21 years.  Darin, like many of us, lived paycheck to paycheck and could not afford medical insurance for himself.  Tragedy rarely strikes us when we are most prepared and Darin’s heart attack occurred during the remodeling of his modest trailer home, leaving him no place to stay but with a lot rental that must be paid every month whether he lives there or not.

Unable to get Federal assistance, Darin turned to Red Lake Falls Social Services for help with his growing medical needs, and to HUD for his housing problem.  Eventually, Darin was allotted a miserly $203/ month and some food stamps, and Intercounty forced Darin into an apartment, perched over a noisy bar, for $50/month until HUD could approve the repairs on his trailer home.  Add that $50 to the $80 that Darin still has to pay for his lot rental, $5 to pay a neighbor to mow his grass, and a few necessities like toilet paper and Darin doesn’t have much money at the end of the month.  HUD claims they have no funding to help Darin make his trailer livable so he is stuck paying double rent for the time being.

This fragile and meager existence was threatened when Darin received a $100 check in the mail from the sale of some of his late uncle’s mineral rights.  Red Lake County immediately took away his monthly $203.  Although they reinstated his check a short time later, they deducted the $100 from his assistance.  Syverson took this in stride.  “The way I look at it, it’s a hundred dollars that the taxpayers didn’t have to pay.”  Red Lake Falls Social Services has now disqualified Darin from the program as of August 18th, because, after a year and a half, the trailer home is suddenly an asset that could be liquidated to pay for treatment and the necessities of life.  Darin does not actually own the trailer but he does call it home.

Withholding Darin’s only source of income is the hallmark of an uncompassionate bureaucracy, but depriving a sick man of medical assistance can only be described as monstrous, perhaps evil.  Someone at Red Lake County Social Services has cancelled Darin’s doctor appointment s and his ride to the cardiologist.  “They cancelled my ride thirty minutes before I had to leave to see the heart doctor.  Her office is in Fargo, North Dakota…an hour and a half drive from here.  You can’t cancel those kinds of appointments.  It took me six months to get that appointment.  A friend was able to take me at the last minute but I had to borrow money I couldn’t pay back for gas.  This appointment was about the diagnosis of my health, my life.”  Darin’s heart attack and prolonged exposure to chemicals and vapors has damaged his lungs as well as his heart…he has a hard time even walking a short distance.  The cardiologist has to treat him like a seventy year old man, even though Darin is only forty-eight years old.

Is there a vindictive force in the Red Lake Falls Social Services who wants Syverson to continue to suffer?  Why would any county service worker cancel doctor appointments and work to keep a heart attack victim in a constant state of stress?  Darin sits in that apartment, with no money and just a few food stamps, confronting his mortality and the despair brought on by a system that would rather kill him than pay up.  “I have paid taxes that fund these programs for my entire life, and I am not kidding when I say these people are out of line” exclaims an exasperated Syverson.  “I want to let people know what to expect if they get sick in Minnesota, you are paying into a system that will fail you in the end.”

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  1. Darin M. Syverson

     /  July 15, 2013

    Update; It took over 2yrs to get ssi. The Federal judge ripped into my attorney for filing for SSI,when my Doctor papers say SSID. The state of Minnesota sent me a state certificate stating I am disabled. Oh by the way, that paper work didn’t mean anything to Red Lake County social services. All said an done, Dave Mills is no longer working there anymore.But keep in mind that he may have ran that job,when he showed up for work. He never was on the phone with human resources, NEVER! But the same people work there,so how can that fix the right and wrong in that county. I have spent 4 years in and out of Doctor offices to find out my health problem. I found out that my open heart surgery was not complete. My main artery was 90% clogged. two others are 45% and 50%. Due to my body going thru that type of distress,that brought out C.O.P.D. So I struggled to get better only to realize that now my lungs are keeping me from getting back on my feet. C.O.P.D. is not fixable. There is always something good out of something bad.. I would like to Thank all who help me,but, mainly thank Susan Farkus. She has given me the medical stuff I need. I have seen a lot of Doctors and she helped me with her passion and knowledge. THANK YOU SUSAN!!!

  2. Darin

     /  September 10, 2011

    up date! The financial assistance supervisor from Red Lake county social services is claiming that cardiac rehab that is ordered by Susan Farkus MD from fargo ND. is not medical. Susan Farkas has decades of schooling, when did they hand out finanical MD cards! This person argued on rehab2. Susan made it clear to me that this rehab is a life long event for me and is medical nessarary do to my health. This lady knows this,I do know her name now!!!!

  3. Steven M Nelson

     /  September 2, 2011

    Darin has to accept this lifestyle. After all, the MN GOP has decided in its infinite wisdom that individual wealth is more important than community prosperity. Darin certainly wouldn’t want to pick the pockets of the richest 1% just so he could live comfortably in the poverty this political philosophy has inflicted on him and a good many others, would he?

    • Karla K

       /  September 2, 2011

      Why am I not surprised? That’s the philosophy of our government; “deal with it”.

  4. william wallace

     /  August 25, 2011

    It such a reality one can relate to /a nation of people
    in palestinians // their plight is similar all too common.

    They face injustice after injustice / as betrayal after
    betrayal / such having been continued for decades.

    It such a heartbreaking event a heartbreaking story.


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