Waukesha Pizza Ranch Blazers benefit, Jackson Sparks killed in attack
WAUKESHA, Wis. - Stepping up to the plate in support of the community, a Waukesha restaurant donated a portion of Sunday's profits to the Waukesha Blazers. The youth baseball team was among the groups impacted by the Christmas parade attack. Jackson Sparks, 8, was a team member and lost his life in the attack.
The general manager said his cash register had a line of customers for most of the day Sunday, Feb. 20. Monday marks three months since the attack happened, and the community wants the Blazers to know they haven't forgotten.
"We're here to do the best we can," said Jake Zappa, general manager.
At any buffet-style restaurant, customers get the chance to help themselves, but on Sunday, the Waukesha PizzaRanch offered more than lunch and dinner. It was a chance for this community to give back.
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"Slowly, our lives begin to move on as we separate ourselves from that incident," said Zappa. "The lives that we're here raising money for today are reminded of it day in and day out."
Pizza Ranch fed first responders after the attack and then raised money for the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, who lost members in the attack. Zappa said he knew he wanted to help Waukesha's hometown team, too.
"I think if we keep that as the community at the forefront, it helps them heal," said Zappa. "It helps the community as a whole heal."
From 11 a.m. until 8 p.m., 50% of all sales were donated to the Waukesha Blazers, who pitched in alongside the Swimtastic Swim School to bus tables.
The fundraiser also included a silent auction, attracting families and baseball fans like Mike Rubocki.
"It's one night that we don't have to cook dinner," said Rubocki. "We can come here. It's good food and a good way to support a local cause and show our support for everyone. It's starting to be springtime soon, which, baseball is starting up, so it's just another way for us to remember what happened."
Pizza Ranch hoped to raise around $5,000 for the Blazers Sunday and ended up with a total of $6,874.83.