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Anthony Fimple’s Legacy: Finding Light in Darkness

Published: Dec. 24, 2020 at 10:07 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -

“Some monster did something horrible to him, but he’s not the one they’re going to remember. It’s going to be Anthony that they remember,” said Gus Fimple.

In the early hours of June 27, 19-year-old Anthony Fimple was shot and killed while serving as a door host at a downtown La Crosse bar.

Now, as Christmas nears, the La Crosse community is remembering him by doing something he did regularly--donating blood.

“There was a little app that would alert him whenever his blood was being used,” explained Gus Fimple, Anthony’s father. “He really got a kick out of how his donation was helping other people.”

Gus says while every parent sees their child through rose-colored glasses, the outpouring of love and memories shared since his son’s passing prove he was one of the best.

Anthony received Versiti blood to keep his organs viable while awaiting transplant surgery following the shooting.

“It kind of came full circle, in kind of a poetic and kind of a sad way, but I’m glad it did work out,” Gus added.

Donating up until the end, Anthony’s organs went on to save six people.

“His lungs are here in Wisconsin and I have been in contact with that person,” Gus said. “The rest of them our throughout the Midwest and the East.”

The Fimples have been told that all the transplant surgeries were successful, including his heart which is now in Illinois.

“Somebody’s family right now is having a Christmas with their loved ones because of this tragedy and Anthony’s gift,” Gus explained.

Gus admits that he would much rather have his son here today, but events like the blood drive and knowing his son helped others provides a glimmer of hope.

“The holidays, Christmas, New Years and then we have this huge hole. It’s really hard to put a smile on your face and go out every day,” said Gus.

Six months since his passing, Anthony is remembered every day by the community--Not just in Tuesday’s blood drive, but also by a tree planted in his honor inside Myrick Park.

‘He was big into conservation and he worked with WisCorps [and] they planted a tree in his honor that’s going to be their for years and years,” explained Gus.

The tree, a weeping willow, chosen by the WisCorps who remember Fimple as a role model.

“That second summer he came back as an assistant crew leader which was more of a leadership role and also setting an example for the new crew members ,” said Chad Duchateau, the WisCorps Operations Manager.

Duchateau says he thinks of Anthony every day when he walks by the tree and is told the Fimple family visits weekly.

“If you turn around and face the marsh, it’s sort of a neat spot to remember him by.. seeing the bluffs and the marsh,” Duchateau added.

And more than 108 donors remembered Anthony at the blood drive, including his parents Gus and Kristin, who say Anthony would have been thrilled to help out, but more bashful about it being in his honor.

“If he were here, and I’m sure he is watching somewhere, he probably thinks this is way too much. He was a very humble kid,” said Gus.

Finding a little light in the darkness. While no longer here, Anthony Fimple’s legacy lives on.

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