WAUKESHA, Wis. - There are now six crosses at Veterans Park in Waukesha; a sixth added for Jackson Sparks wears a Blazers baseball hat, just as Sparks did when he was a player for the club. The 8-year-old boy died from his injuries two days after the driver of an SUV plowed through the crowd at the Waukesha Christmas parade.
The Waukesha community has been tied together by a tragedy.
"I think something emotional tugged at our hearts when we saw this happening," said Robert Schwerer of Oconomowoc.
People like Schwerer came to Veterans Park Wednesday, Nov. 24 to pay tribute instead of giving thanks ahead of the holiday.
"Obviously, they’ll need some comforting through the holiday season," said Schwerer.
Parents have had to explain the unexplainable to their children.
"This is not something that should ever happen, and if it does, we come together as a community," said Vicki Smith.
Smith’s son turns 8 next week, the same age Sparks was when he died Tuesday.
"I just feel really bad for everyone who died," said Brody Smith.
"Jackson was someone that was always happy and chipper," said Randall Visser, LifePoint Church minister. "Whenever I would see him running around with all the other little kids, smiles from ear to ear."
Sparks' family is grieving, as is his church family at LifePoint Church, as Sparks' 12-year-old brother recovers from his injuries.
"They appreciate the love and support that has been showered by the community," said Visser. "I can’t imagine what would be going through the mind of an older brother losing someone."
"They’re going to need our support for a long time," said Schwerer.
According to Visser, the Sparks family has been actively involved in the ministry for the past 10 years. Jackson Sparks' mom serves as a Sunday school teacher. Visser said he’s grateful to see the outpouring of love and care.