WAUKESHA — While the Sikh Community mourned during Friday’s funeral services, community members in Waukesha shared their sorrow. They tried to help ease the pain by offering some relief with an event that was held in the victims’ honor. Six lost their lives and three were critically injured after Wade Michael Page entered the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Sunday and opened fire.
A group called “Ordinary Heroes” has been a catalyst for support in the Waukesha area. Last week, they held a fundraiser in honor of the Aurora, Colorado shooting victims. Now, their efforts have shifted to the Wisconsin families in need.
Kelsie Wendeldberger and Zach Dunton were deeply affected by Sunday’s Sikh Temple shooting and immediately took action.
“We’re going to have people donate money and set up everything to fund the people in Oak Creek to help with medical bills and funeral costs,” Wendeldberger said.
Dunton said the pair co-founded “Ordinary Heroes” — an organization aimed at promoting selflessness.
The “Ordinary Heroes” foundation is a way give those who want to help an opportunity to assist families affected following the Sikh Temple shooting.
“We want to really show everybody can be a hero and anybody can make an impact,” Wendeldberger said.
The group, in conjunction with Waukesha’s Downtown Business Association and Freeman Friday Night Live, joined together to help the cause. By donating $1, folks were given a sticker showing support of the Oak Creek Sikh Relief Fund. The sticker also gave them access to special discounts and deals at area businesses, which are donating a portion of the profits.
Volunteers walked the streets, spreading awareness about this community effort.
“I think it’s important as a community we all come together. Just because you have a different religion doesn’t make you less a part or more a part of our community. When something like that happens, one of the best parts about Milwaukee and Wisconsin is we all band together,” Mark Hickok said.
Keeping in line with some of the Sikh beliefs, the duo has started a movement they hope will inspire others.
”The people over at Sikh aren’t being angry — they’re being forgiving and we appreciate it. I think that’s a lesson we all need to learn,” Dunton said.
Many folks are thankful for the local response. It’s giving them a chance to rally around the Sikhs and help them move forward.
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