"We are very, very grateful": Families of drainage ditch victims hold picnic to thank community for support

NOW: “We are very, very grateful“: Families of drainage ditch victims hold picnic to thank community for support

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The families of two men and a young boy who were swept away in a drainage ditch held a final gathering on Sunday, June 26 to say goodbye and thank the community.

10 year-old Arman Rashidullah was washed away in the raging canal while chasing a soccer ball. His father, Rashidullah Abdul Hashim and a neighbor, Zakaria Gonumeah, went in after him. The boy's body was found the next day, and the men were found days later, all in the KK River.

The two families of the victims held an all-day picnic on Milwaukee's south side Sunday, with an open invitation.

The turnout spoke to the heart that the community can have in times of tragedy.

"We just want to let people know how much we actually love them and everybody could just pay their last respect," said Halimah Yassin, Zakaria's niece.

The gathering was a heartfelt thank you, sharing memories, prayers and plenty of food.

"It's all the community who is coming through, the police officers, firefighters. It's all the people who helped us to find the people, and we are very very grateful," said Ashraf Yassin, Zakaria's nephew.

In Islamic culture, holding a gathering for gratitude is a special sign of respect after a death.

"The tradition is that when somebody passed away, you usually have a gathering so that you send your prayers, and you say thank you to the people that were involved," said Max Muhammad, the Rohingya Youth Leader in Milwaukee.

While the family is grieving, family members said the coping process has been made easier by the huge show of support throughout the city.

"They know that they have everybody around them. The effort, all the support, all the love, all the kind messages they've been receiving, it really matters so much to both families," said Halimah Yassin.

Members of the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee Fire Department and city leaders attended Sunday's picnic to pay their respects.

Click here to see the GoFundMe for the affected families.

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