Jacob's Jackets provides thousands of life jackets to Chippewa Valley

Published: Jun. 16, 2020 at 4:50 AM CDT
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After losing his best friend at four-years-old in a drowning in Lake Altoona, Jacob Krager, made it his mission to save others from the same tragic death.

6 years later, the now 11 year old is still working to promote swim safety in the Chippewa Valley. Jacob's Jackets started to make sure everyone has access to a life jacket before heading out on the water.

Since 2014, the group has handed out more than 5,000 life jackets to the community and it's just the beginning. "After they are done with them, they can keep them which is perfectly fine but they can also put them back if they want to,” said Jacob Krager.

Jacob's jackets are available for anyone in need, in honor of, Jacob Lee Schultz who drowned in Lake Altoona. "I couldn't let my grandson's death go in vain from drowning which is something that is so preventable,” said Kessea Kahl.

Kessea started the Jacob Lee Schultz swimming memorial fund, but then his friend, Jacob Krager jumped on board with Jacob's Jackets. "When he sent me that letter about doing the life jacket challenge, it was like let's go and he blew it out of the water,” Kahl said.

But Jacob Krager shares a lot more than just a name with Jacob Schultz. “He's really helped me through it because I look at him and I see my Jacob and I know that he is smiling at us knowing we are doing this, we are saving lives,”Kahl added.

The duo has been providing free life jackets to use, for six years. "I've really stuck through it, there were some hard times but I really pushed through it,” Krager said. In that time, they handed out more than 5,000 life jackets. "The more lives we can save, the more we get Jacob's approval,” Kahl said.

Now, heading into busy season, they are in need of donations to keep their mission going the next 6 years. "If I hear the loaner boxes are getting low, I will always refill them and always ask for more help,” Krager said.

What started as a way to keep Jacob’s memory alive has turned into a lifelong commitment to saving lives in the Chippewa Valley. “I am not going to stop, I mean this is the worst thing I have ever gone through is losing a grandson,” Kahl added.

They are in need of more life jacket donations, they can be new or used. And they also could use monetary donations to purchase more life jackets. You can donate money at the Jacob Lee Schultz Swimming Fund account at Westconsin Credit Union. To make a donation or request a life jacket you can contact Kessea Kahl at 715-933-1623 or visit their Facebook page

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