Waukesha parade survivor returns to Main Street for 1st time as community prepares to honor victims
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The city of Waukesha is preparing to unveil a new memorial that will honor the victims of the 2021 Christmas parade attack.
Tuesday marks two years since a driver sped through the parade, killing six people and injuring 62 others.
A plywood box hides the memorial that's been two years in the making. It will be revealed on Tuesday.
People in Waukesha told us it means different things to different people, but they said they want these streets to once again be filled with joy.
Jennifer Stover was injured in the parade attack. She told us, "I've struggled, hard, with getting to this spot right now."
The spot she was talking about is Five Points, where two years ago Stover was hit by the speeding car as she passed out candy with the Xtreme Dance team.
Her then-8-year-old daughter Olivia was also hit and suffered a traumatic brain injury. Jennifer said, "She is doing amazing. She doesn't remember it, thank God, but she is so strong."
For two years, Jennifer has avoided going near Main Street. "I've gotten to the stoplight, and I've gone, 'Don't look down there, don't look down there.'"
But now she felt it was time, for both herself and for her daughter. "She knows Mom has to come down here so we can all get better. And that's what I'm doing."
Tuesday's memorial service will start at 4:39 p.m. to honor the lives lost and support those who are still suffering.
Several speakers are scheduled, and mental health resources will be available. It was at one of the community sessions that jennifer met Tammi Evanoff.
Evanoff said, "The bonds, and the people that we've come to know consider family. We're all still together."
Evanoff owns Burlap & Lace. She opens her doors during every parade to offer hot chocolate and restrooms. Two years ago, it became a shelter.
Evanoff told us, "You see those memories and those flashes in your head, and it seems like it was yesterday."
Stover called Evanoff to say she wanted to venture back onto Main Street after two years away. Stover said, "It was overwhelming. And I've been nervous about it all day."
And so Evanoff was there to help her friend reclaim what was taken from the community two years ago. "I would walk to the front door and say 'We're safe. We're safe. You're not taking this from me.'"