"A striking image:" Nearly 400 pinwheels planted in Racine hope to raise awareness of child abuse

Guardians of the Children Pinwheel Project

RACINE -- In Racine, a beautiful spot represents an ugly statistic. Nearly 400 pinwheels were planted on Saturday, April 1st with a very important message.

Don't let the tough-looking biker group "Guardians of the Children" fool you.

"Some of the biggest, scariest looking guys in our group... they're the softest inside," said John Gehrke, President of Guardians of the Children Belle City Chapter.

Guardians of the Children Pinwheel Project

They're here to protect our children.

Guardians of the Children Pinwheel Project

"I think it's very close to our hearts. Children are helpless, so it's very hard for them to come forward so that's not what we're here for. We want the children to feel safe," said Gehrke.

They'll do that by having planted 390 blue pinwheels in the ground. Each pinwheel symbolizes a confirmed case of child abuse in Racine County -- all 390 of them.

John Gehrke

"It's just a sad number, 390, that's why we're here. We're trying to reduce that number for 2017," Gehrke said.

Their goal is people passing by, stopping and becoming aware of the issue.

"Hopefully next year we won't have to plant so many," said a biker.

Guardians of the Children Pinwheel Project

The display is on the Racine County Courthouse lawn; a high traffic area.

Guardians of the Children Pinwheel Project

"It's a very striking image that we hope will make people aware," said Racine County Executive Jonathan Delagrave.

This isn't the only display of blue pinwheels around Racine. Both local schools and businesses are getting involved.

"And that's what you need, you need everybody to come forward and help," said Gehrke.

All in the name of children.