A television station in Eau Claire helped raise $83,201 to honor three Girl Scouts and a parent who were killed while cleaning alongside a highway.
The incident occurred Nov. 3 in Chippewa Falls when a driver went off the road and struck the volunteer cleanup crew. A fourth Girl Scout was injured. A 21-year-old Chippewa Falls man is facing charges.
WEAU-TV held a fundraiser Nov. 27, on Giving Tuesday, in its front parking lot in Eau Claire called “The Halmstad and Southview Memorial Donation Drive.” Money was raised to create scholarships and memorials in the victims’ honor. Halmstad and Southview are elementary schools that are part of the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District where the girls went to school. The funds will go to the Community Foundation of Chippewa County and the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Scholarship Foundation.
WEAU General Manager Terry McHugh was the driving force to create the fundraiser. He worked with a credit union to help with money collection. Local car dealerships each contributed $5,000 toward a $40,000 match. Gray Television, WEAU’s parent company, also donated $5,000.
WEAU collected drive-up donations in its front parking lot. Donors drove in, were greeted by a WEAU anchor or employee, and dropped off a cash or check donation. Donors received coupons to area businesses as a thank you for their contributions. WEAU did news mentions and programming cut-ins, web stories, push notifications, and social media posts throughout the day to drive traffic.
The station hoped to raise $40,000 so it could hit the full $40,000 match. The goal was exceeded by $3,201.