Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and Common Council members held a year-end reflection about the city’s 125th anniversary Tuesday night. (Karen Pilarski/Patch)
WAUKESHA, WI — Waukesha Mayor Shawn Reilly and Common Council members took a moment to reflect on the city’s 125th anniversary at its Tuesday meeting.
The year-long celebration ended differently than originally planned because of the tragic events of Nov. 21 during the city’s Christmas parade, the mayor said.
A man drove into marchers and spectators during the parade, resulting in the deaths of six people and more than 60 injured. The council held a moment of silence to remember the lives affected on that day.
“Our year ended tragically,” Reilly said. “Our hearts are heavy, and we are still in mourning, and we are still trying to figure out how to take steps forward. While there was pain, we must also be grateful for all the good.”
A video montage showed celebrations such as concerts, movie nights, holiday celebrations, the Moving Wall and other events throughout the year.
“The 125th anniversary celebrations represented our community coming together. Our community during the last year celebrated what it meant to be a city,” he said.
The city can’t “let the evil take away the good,” Reilly said.
Reilly also sealed a guitar-shaped time capsule that contained items to document the city’s history, as well as an assortment of parade items such as baseball hats, dance team T-shirts, signs and newspaper clippings. An earlier time capsule was discovered in 2019 when construction began on the new City Hall.
Reilly encouraged everyone to reflect on the good times during the last year while acknowledging the pain the city is experiencing.
“We are Waukesha strong,” he said.
$4.4 Million Raised
Meanwhile, Amy Lindner, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, announced that the United for Waukesha Community Fund had raised more than $4.4 million.
The Waukesha County Community Foundation, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and the Waukesha Education Foundation established the fund to raise money for those affected by the Nov. 21 Christmas parade disaster. All donations and matching funds will go directly to the United for Waukesha Community Fund.
Donations have come from the local community and from all 50 states and 17 countries, Lindner said.
She praised the Fotsch Family Foundation, which pledged to match up to $1 million of donations made to the United for Waukesha Community Fund from Nov. 29 to last Friday.
“Just a huge community of people who have seen what’s happened here, who care what’s happened here and want to be part of how this community heals,” Lindner said.
Initial distributions of $25,000 will go to any family who lost a loved one, and some checks have already been sent out. The application process for the next group of recipients will open on Friday, Lindner said.
Applications will also be accepted starting Friday from families of those who have been hospitalized.