WAUKESHA, Wis. - Grandmothers were killed or wounded doing something they loved when an SUV plowed through the crowd at the Waukesha Christmas parade Sunday, Nov. 21.
Milwaukee’s beloved Dancing Grannies were performing, and there's now an outpouring of support for this group of lovely ladies in mourning.
Whether it was just practice, or in action at a parade, Milwaukee’s Dancing Grannies are known for their laughter and joy.
"They bring smiles," said Evelyn Wachter. "They’re great. They are truly amazing grannies."
On Sunday, their jovial performance turned tragic when an SUV barreled through the route.
"We are watching the parade and everything happened," said Wachter.
Wachter's daughter was carrying the banner.
"From what she has told me, she heard tires squealing, and we have taught her that, know your surroundings and that was a sound that she knew, recognized – that’s not part of the parade," said Wachter. "She dropped the banner that broke in two, and she jumped to get out of the way. That’s all I know."
The SUV barrelled into the Dancing Grannies. Three grandmothers were killed, Virginia "Ginny" Sorensen, LeAnna Owen, known as Lee and Tamara Durand. Several others were badly injured.
"They are a sisterhood," said Wachter.
In an online message, Tamara Rosentreter, the leader of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, wrote: "I'm still here... lots of pain, stitches, broken bones, & lots of bumps & bruises. Love you all. Please pray for all the other victims"
Loved ones are taking to the web to share their grief and memories, with Sorensen's loved ones adding, "Her spirit was fierce and never aged. Everyone who knew Ginny knows she had a special soul, one that radiated with love. She was a caregiver through and through."
As the community mourns, the organization shared, "The outpouring of prayers, messages and sentiments sent to the grannies over this devastating loss have touched us deeply."
"It’s going to take time for all of us to heal," said Wachter.
The grannies have a PO Box established:
PO Box 320734
Franklin, WI 53132