Waukesha unveils first parade memorial on two-year anniversary of attack

Posted at 12:29 PM, Nov 22, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-22 13:29:21-05

WAUKESHA — A new memorial shines tonight along Main Street in Waukesha.

It serves as a permanent reminder of people lost and injured on one of the city's darkest days. Six people were killed two years ago when a driver sped through the Christmas parade route:

Bill Hospell, Leanna Owen, Jane Kulich, Ginny Sorenson, Tamara Durand and Jackson Sparks.

Monday evening, the community gathered to mark the time that has passed, and continue the process of moving forward together.

The city unveiled the first of the two memorials honoring the parade victims, surrounded by hundreds in the community and family members of the six victims who died.

The continuous support over the past two years is something that residents say showcases resilience.

“One bad incident doesn’t shut down the city or shut down the hearts of people here,” said Ray Moiranio.

Later in the evening, residents personalized custom tiles that will be added to the Grede Park memorial next year— etching in clay, pieces of the people that make Waukesha strong.

"I chose 'always in our hearts, never forgotten,'" said Waukesha resident, Monica Barron. “It’s to remember all those that we lost and all the victims and first responders, anybody that was a part of what happened.”

Barron has lived in Waukesha her entire life. She sat next to her sister, Marcia Schlei, as they created their custom tiles.

“It’s emotional because I was at the parade with my mom, which is why we're making [a tile] for my mom too,” said Schlei.

For both sisters, putting their fingerprint on the city they love was a no-brainer.

Dozens of others joined them in creating thoughtful designs of their own on the second anniversary of the tragedy that changed so many lives.

There will be another opportunity to donate $25 and customize a tile for the Grede Park memorial on March 9 at the Waukesha Public Library.