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Those who sailed on the Hjemkomst: Where are they now?

When the Hjemkomst set sail for Norway 25 years ago, it carried with it the dreams of Robert Asp. But it also carried a group of promising 20- and 30-somethings with dreams of their own.

Mark Hilde

When the Hjemkomst set sail for Norway 25 years ago, it carried with it the dreams of Robert Asp. But it also carried a group of promising 20- and 30-somethings with dreams of their own.

These individuals went on to try out for the Olympic yachting team, teach in Hong Kong and build furniture that ended up on Rodeo Drive. Here's where some of them are now:

Tom Asp

Asp celebrates his 50th birthday this summer. He lives south of Madison, Wis., and works for a small engineering firm that helps municipalities with wireless and fiber optic systems.

He has one son who is entering his junior year in pre-med at the University of Illinois.


Tom became involved with cellular technology at a time when there were only two trial systems operating in the U.S.

Roger Asp

Roger lives in Coon Rapids, Minn., with his wife Sharon. He has a 25-year-old stepson.

He built high-end cabinets and furniture that were distributed all around the country including to boutiques on Rodeo Drive.

Due to health concerns, Roger left the cabinetry business. He earned his bachelors degree in business and Marketing from Concordia University in St. Paul in 2000 and now works in management.

Lynn Halmrast

A father of five children, Halmrast resides in Moorhead with his wife, Rae. He has worked as a counselor with Moorhead Public Schools for more than 30 years. Halmrast also has a part-time practice at Solutions Behavioral Health Clinic in Moorhead.

He served as Minnesota governor to the national Council for Exceptional Children and president of the state chapter.


Mark Hilde

With a passion for the water, Mark Hilde lives on Lake Cormorant near Audubon, Minn. He windsurfs and kite boards, and travels to California each winter to work and enjoy his hobbies.

"I have to be on the water," he said.

The rest of the year, Hilde works as a carpenter, brick mason and general handyman.

Bj¸rn Holtet

He lives in Narvik, Norway, where he was born. After his work on the Hjemkomst, Bj¸rn worked on an offshore oil rig as a maintenance utility man for Mobil Oil. Since then he has continued to work offshore and is currently a process operator.

He is married to Inger. Heidi, their eldest child, is studying medicine. He also has twin sons.

Jeff Solum


After sailing the Hjemkomst to Norway, Solum, now 45, began another dream. In 1985 and 1986, Solum tried out for the U.S. Olympic yachting team.

He now lives in Deephaven, Minn., with Deirdre, his wife of 20 years. He has three children, ages 12, 17 and 19. He was the commodore for the Minnetonka Yacht Club in 2003 and 2004 and continues to race sailboats several times a week.

Solum is a wireless system architect at Starkey Labs Inc.

Deb Szeitz

The only female member of the crew, Deb was 20 when she took the voyage to Norway 25 years ago. She resides in Faribault, Minn. Deb and her husband, Bob, adopted five special-needs children and have two biological children. Deb and Bob both teach special education.

Szeitz graduated from Moorhead's Concordia College in 1984 with a degree in biology. In the late 1980s she taught English at a camp in Hong Kong for Vietnamese refugees.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Shane Mercer at (701) 451-5734

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