GREENDALE -- Sunday, April 22nd, friends and strangers came together in Greendale to remember Ava Zimmerman. The second annual Ava's Walk was held in honor of the five-year-old who was killed by a minivan on April 14th, 2010, while crossing the street in the village.
With the tragedy that struck Milwaukee this past Thursday, April 17th, when six-year-old Christopher Wade was struck by a minivan near 51st and Meinecke and later died at the hospital, raising awareness of vehicle and pedestrian safety through Ava's Walk seemed that much more important.
Over 1,000 people participated in this year's walk. "We want to bring people all together an remind them that when you get behind the wheel, you're getting behind something that can potentially be a weapon," Zimmerman's aunt, Christy Cool said.
A statue of Zimmerman stands at the corner of Northway and Broad Street in Greendale, where the little girl was struck while walking through the crosswalk while walking with family to the park.
Last year was the first Ava's Walk, and because of its inaugural success, this year's walk offered even more. "The biggest thing that we're doing today that we didn't do last year is making an interactive safety area for the kids, so they're learning signs and signals and things in the crosswalk," Cool said.
Cool said the walk's mission is to remind drivers to be present while driving, and avoid as many distractions as possible.
More than 1,000 t-shirts were sold during the walk, and many participants signed "Pledge AVA - Advocating Vehicle Awareness." "Hopefully by signing 'Pledge AVA' and getting the bracelets and the keychains and the reminders that we have, it will be something that will be ongoing and not just for today," Cool said.
The Guardian Ava Foundation was created in Ava's memory and its goal is to launch a major crusade against avoidable pedestrian deaths and accidents. Proceeds from this year's event will go to Children's Hospital Bereavement Program that supports families who have lost loved ones in traumatic incidents.
CLICK HERE for more details on Ava's Walk from FOX6's media partners at the Greendale Patch.
CLICK HERE to visit the Ava's Walk website and learn more about the Guardian Ava Foundation.