Donation drive in honor of Lake Hallie hit-and-run victims

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- On November 3, a tragedy hit the Chippewa Valley when three girls and a mother were killed in a hit-and-run crash in Lake Hallie while a group of Girls Scouts was cleaning up an area of the highway.

Madalyn Zwiefelhofer is still recovering and just returned home to Chippewa Falls last week, according to a Go Fund Me page. The crash took the lives of 9-year old Jayna Kelley, 10-year old Autumn Helgeson, and 10-year old Haylee Hickle and her mother Sara Jo Schneider.

It certainly was a "Giving Tuesday" at WEAU and Royal Credit Union, a day to remember the victims of the fatal hit-and-run in Lake Hallie earlier this month. Donations at RCU along with contributions from Royal Credit Union employees surpassing $19,000.

Royal Credit Union's Jennifer McHugh says, "I think everyone was horrified when they heard about this horrible hit-and-run and what happened. At Royal Credit Union, our core purpose is to create a positive impact in the lives we touch. We really worked on to see how we could be the most effective and make the most impact and boy, I think we've done that today."

The new car dealers and other local businesses all chipped in to raise money for the Community Foundation of Chippewa County and the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Scholarship Foundation.

Mega Holiday's Mike Buck says, "Well, it's one of those things that touches your heart. We are all surrounded by family in some way and when this happened not only in our work families but our home families and your start and you start thinking about your grandchildren and children and how much it affected the lives of those that were affected by this, it's hard on the heart."

Mike Keil from Eau Claire Automotive Group adds, "It was a big deal, it was a terrible thing. And we just felt the Chippewa Valley is very generous all the time and we knew that they would step up and we were very excited to be invited and be a part of it, so I couldn't be more proud of the community."

Sam Munger with Taco Johns says, "This was a tragedy, this was something that affected a lot of people and it was one of those situations where if it would happened to you, you would have jumped at the opportunity to get involved."

At the WEAU parking lot, more than $24,100 was raised, coupled with Royal Credit Union's contribution and the new car dealers' match of $40,000, the Halmstad & Southview Memorial Donation Drive raised $83,201.

"What a phenomenal day today, as you can see, we achieved our goal today of our 40-thousand dollars. Not only achieved it, but over-achieved it. And with the help from the new car dealers we have turned this day into an $80,000 plus, so we are so excited and so pleased and blessed with the great community that we live in that everyone stepped in to help out today," says Terry McHugh, WEAU Vice President & General Manager.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Last month during a Girl Scouts volunteering initiative in Lake Hallie, three children and an adult lost their lives, while another child is in recovery.

WEAU 13 News has teamed up with Royal Credit Union to raise funds to support memorials and scholarships and will be directed to the Community Foundation of Chippewa County, and the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District Scholarship Foundation.

On Giving Tuesday, you can drop off donations of any amount in the WEAU parking lot on Hastings Way in Eau Claire and at any Royal Credit Union location . The WEAU donation drive is on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Checks can be made out to Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District.

The Chippewa Valley New Car Dealers have teamed up and are offering to match your donations up to $40,000. Donors will receive coupons to area businesses.

Chippewa Valley New Car Dealers
$40,000 Match
Ken Vance Motors
Morrie’s Chippewa Valley Mazda
Prestige Auto Corporation
Eau Claire Ford
Eau Claire Auto Group
Chilson Automotive Group
Markquart Motors
Toycen Ford

Donor Coupons
Mega! Co-Op Holiday
Eberts & Gerberts
Cherry Berry
Taco Johns