Germantown — It's been almost three weeks since five local children lost their parents, Josh and Monica Griebel, to a tragic car accident in Richfield. That hasn't stopped people of Germantown from throwing their hearts around the family. The first of several local fundraising events took place May 4 at booked solid Old Town Inn, where 15 percent of its proceeds were donated to the children.
More than $20,000 has already been raised by 287 people in seven days via a GoFundMe.com account that was established for the children, who range in age from 16 months to 13 years. Four of the children attend the Germantown School District, where Superintendent Jeff Holmes says he hopes they will continue to feel at home throughout this challenging time.
"We are doing everything we can to make sure they get every bit of support they need upon their return to class," said Holmes, adding that the students have not yet returned to school following the accident. Holmes encouraged those in attendance at a recent board meeting to "do the right thing" and find a way to support the family's cause.
And he is not alone. The community has rallied around the children in a number of ways.
Sudz Carwash locations in Germantown, Franklin and Cudahy are matching every dollar customers donate to benefit the Griebel family — up to $17,000 — toward the purchase of a family van.
And in Hubertus, Sterling Chalet owner Heidi McKenna said she has received an outpouring of support for the event planned at the banquet facility. Anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 people are expected to attend the event, which McKenna said will feature live music and games for kids and their families from 2 to 8 p.m. May 31 at the Chalet, 1271 Highway 175.
"I think it's one of those situations where you want to do something — anything — to help out," said McKenna, who attended Germantown High School with the couple. "The question becomes what can you do, and for me this is the least I can do to show my support for the family."
The GoFundMe.com site has been shared more than 2.2 million times via social media outlets, which McKenna said is another example of the impact a caring community can have on such a tragic situation.
"It's easy to go about life thinking 'that will never happen to me,'" she said. "But in reality it can and it has. This hits really close to home."
To donate, visit gofundme.com/griebelfabulousfive.
Investigation is ongoing regarding the crash, which occured just after 2:30 a.m. April 25 on Highway 164. Thirty-seven-year-old Josh and 38-year-old Monica were in a car that crossed the center line, entered a ditch, hit a culvert, went airborne, and slammed into a utility pole, according to the report.
AT A GLANCE
WHAT: Benefit for the Griebel family
WHERE: Sterling Chalet, 1271 Highway 175, Hubertus
WHEN: 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, May 31
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