Two of the Girl Scouts killed in a hit-and-run in November in Lake Hallie are being remembered with a new pavilion at a local park.
On Nov. 3 of last year, members of Girl Scout Troop 3055 were picking up trash along County Highway P, when a vehicle went off the road, hitting and killing four people., including nine-year-old Jayna Kelley, 10-year-old Autumn Helgeson, 10-year-old Haylee Hickle and Halee’s mother Sara Jo Schneider.
For the Kelley family, Sunday’s dedication is a thank you to all those who helped and supported them after this tragedy.
“This is a second family to us out here. Softball was a huge part of their lives; it’s still a huge part of our lives,” said Jayna Kelley’s father, Brian.
“The Helgeson family and the Kelley family decided to try and honor our daughters and we put together this pavilion that you see behind us,” he said.
The pavilion is a culmination of support and hard work that members of the Chippewa valley have shown to both families. Many local businesses pitched in material, labor and supplies to the project.
Kelley says construction started last Friday and was mostly finished at Sunday’s event.
“It’s been awesome. We created the event less than a week ago. We’ve got ice cream from Olson’s and root beer from Milwaukee Burger Company. We just want celebrate the pavilion being almost finished and all the hard work everyone put in and thank everybody,” he said.
Terra Kelly says softball is very important to her as a way to remember her sister.
“It keeps her memory alive and I want to do as good as she did,” she said.
Both families were and continue to be involved in youth softball.
“Jayna and Autumn both just loved softball. They were really talented softball players. We all coached them, all four parents have been coaches, Brad (Helgeson) and I continue to coach Terra and Brooklyn,” Kelley said.
Now, everyone who visits the Lake Hallie Ball Fields will be able to remember the girls and their love of the sport.
“We really wanted it to be out here so that their names and pictures can be up for generations to come and people can learn about them and remember them. They were just kids. They loved being kids,” Kelley said. “They loved playing softball and they loved playing Barbie just as much as they loved playing softball. They were girls. We miss them every day,” said Brian Kelley.