The Salvation Army Provides Support, Food to Hundreds In Aftermath of Wausau Area Shooting Spree
Wausau Emergency Disaster Services with the canteen.
By Terri Leece
Disaster Services Director, The Salvation Army Wisconsin/Upper Michigan Division
Four people, including a police officer, were gunned down near Wausau on Wednesday, March 22. Authorities said the shootings — which occurred at a bank, a law office and an apartment complex — stemmed from a domestic dispute.
Wednesday, March 22
At approximately 4:10 p.m., Marathon County Emergency Management requested the assistance of The Salvation Army canteen (a mobile feeding unit) for an active shooter incident that was occurring in Weston, WI. Lieutenant Melinda Tripp, an officer at The Salvation Army of Wausau, and Jeff, a volunteer, immediately responded to the scene. After being on the scene for few hours, volunteers Dave DeSantis and Kevin Bauman replaced them.
Thursday, March 23
Around 2:30 a.m., Lt. Jacob Tripp, an officer at The Salvation Army of Wausau, went out to relieve the volunteers and stayed until being released around 7:15 a.m.
Workers were able to provide meals, snacks, and hydration to people inside a school that was on lockdown, to residents that had to be evacuated from their homes and to law enforcement working the crime scenes. Altogether, about 75 sandwiches were served along with 200 cups of coffee, bottled water, Powerade and hot chocolate throughout the night.
The Wausau area community suffered a great loss that night, and The Salvation Army team provided emotional support to the crews on the scene during this difficult situation.
Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25
Throughout the course of the next few days, Colleen Hilber, the Wausau Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) Coordinator, touched base with the fire department and EMS teams that were involved in the situation to let them know The Salvation Army was there to support them with anything they needed.
“Marathon County is a close community where we support one another," Hilber said. "Our canteen crew has great relationships with all of them. Our emergency crews call us many times their life savers and angels. We need our emergency crews and anything we can to help and support them we will do."
Sunday, March 26
Marathon County Emergency Management requested that volunteers, along with the canteen, attend a candlelight vigil that was being held to honor the four people who lost their lives: Everest Metro Police Detective Jason Weiland, 40; Marathon Savings Bank employees Dianne Look, 67, and Karen Barclay, 62 and attorney Sara Quirt Sann, 43.
Although it was a cold and rainy evening, a couple hundred people attended the vigil.
The canteen supplied 36 cups of hot chocolate and 48 bottles of water to attendees.
Wednesday, March 29
Wausau EDS team members -- Hilber, Diane Nowak and Ben Ericksen, along with Terri Leece from Divisional Headquarters -- set up the canteen at the funeral of the fallen police detective.
"This call was one of the hardest calls we had to respond to. It was for one of our friends, one we knew personally, one we will remember when we are on scenes in the Everest metro area," Hilber said. "May you rest in peace our fallen hero. You are now our angel above. You will never be forgotten.”
The team was able to provide breakfast and lunch for police and fire personnel that were securing the perimeter of DC Everest High School where the funeral took place.
“As we watched all the police officers and firemen arriving, we knew in our hearts we needed to make sure we took extra care of them," Hilber said. "We knew this was going to be a very tough day for all of them. Our hearts were aching as well during this emotional day. We gave many hugs."
Officials with The Salvation Army of Wausau said they want to thank the community for all their support, especially Texas Road House, Buffalo Wild Wings, 2510 Deli/Restaurant, Kriegers Bakery, Dunken Donuts, Freddies Mexican Restaurant, Graphic Packaging, and Sam's Club who provided all the food and supplies for the day of the funeral. With their help, there was enough food for serving more than 300 people.
After the funeral, the canteen was able to go to five of the local fire stations and deliver food to the extra staff on duty that had not been able to eat all day.