'We can't lose people like this': Vigil held for woman who died at Milwaukee bus stop

NOW: ’We can’t lose people like this’: Vigil held for woman who died at Milwaukee bus stop

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- We're learning more about the woman who died in the cold at a Milwaukee bus stop last month. Monday night, co-workers organized a vigil at 76th and Congress.

Co-workers missing Jolene organized this vigil. They say she left work that cold, January day with just a block-and-a-half walk to the bus stop.

A 911 dispatcher asks, "What is the address, please?"

Jolene Waldref is heard answering, "(inaudible) I'm on the corner of 76th and Congress."

With her last breaths, Jolene Waldref told a 911 dispatcher where she was, that she was feeling lightheaded, dizzy and couldn't breathe.

"You know, just do better. We got to. We can't lose people like this, just trying to get home from work," said Deborah Pettis, co-worker and friend.

Frustration and sadness were expressed at a vigil Monday night.

These are the faces Waldref worked with at Life Touches Home Healthcare, and they find it especially cruel that a woman who served others died without anyone helping her.

"You will never forget her. You will never forget her because she was always uplifting. She was just very helpful," said Pettis.

Pettis says losing Waldref's been tough. She often shared jokes and kind words. Even after Waldref lost her longtime partner six months ago, she kept her chin up.

"It's been so hard, to be honest, but I keep my head up every day," said Pettis.

At the vigil, one woman spoke out loud as others bowed their heads. "This is my prayer that I pray."

Pettis was among a dozen caregivers praying and lighting candles at the corner of 76th and Congress, where Waldref called for help. It's less than two blocks from their office.

"It means so much to me, when they sent out the memo, that they would be doing this. I was very happy to be here," said Pettis.

Waldref called 911 for help after she fell on the ice as the temperature was around zero.

"It was so heartbreaking, I mean so heartbreaking," said Pettis.

Surveillance shows a Curtis ambulance drive by, but no one gets out to look around.

Co-workers say all they can do now is pray for Jolene's family.

Curtis Ambulance and Bell Ambulance met with the Milwaukee Fire Department (MFD) last week to talk about possible policy changes after Waldref's death. 

So far, MFD is not commenting on that meeting. 

Share this article: