Organizations join forces to prevent future drownings

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- Two local organizations are joining forces this summer to prevent tragedy from happening again on area beaches and pools.

For the first time Sunday night, the Eau Claire Water Safety Task Force and Jacob’s Jackets, a group known for passing out life jackets in memory of a local boy who drowned last summer in Lake Altoona, took to the beach for an outreach event.

“We want to make sure everyone has a life jackets because if we save one person we have saved a family because the pain of losing a child is horrific,” Kessea Kahl said.

Kahl’s grandson, Jacob Lee Schultz, drown in the waters of Lake Altoona nearly a year ago. Thanks to fundraising and the determination of Jacob’s friend, life jackets are being passed out in his memory.

With the help of Jacob’s family and friends, 30 life jackets were fitted to kids who needed them Sunday night at Lake Altoona. At the same time another reminder was sent to parents to keep watch over kids while at lakes or pools.

Volunteers from Eau Clarie's Water Safety Task Force spent time handing out what they're calling a water watcher card.

“As long as you’re wearing this, you’re in charge of watching the kids,” David Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse is the chair of the Eau Claire Water Safety Task Force. He says a large number of drownings in the area had them busy thinking of ways to prevent another accident from happening.

That's why combining forces with Jacob’s Jackets made perfect sense.

“I know Jacob would be very proud because we are doing something that could prevent another life from being lost,” Kahl explained.

The Water Safety Task Force and Jacob’s Jackets say they are planning on passing out more water watcher cards and life jackets in July, August and September.

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