As Waukesha, Wisconsin, holds a vigil to remember and mourn those lost when a man plowed his SUV into the city’s Christmas parade, we’re also learning more about the five victims. The five people killed Sunday were Virginia Sorenson, a 79-year-old female; LeAnna Owen, a 71-year-old female; Tamara Durand, a 52-year-old female; Jane Kulich, a 52-year-old female; and Wilhelm Hospel, an 81-year-old male.
All the women, except Jane Kulich, were long-time members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies group, which performed choreographed dance and pompom routines in parades across Wisconsin.
Eighty-one-year-old Hospel was a volunteer who “helped keep the Grannies hydrated” along the parade routes. On Monday, the Grannies posted a statement about the tragedy on the group’s Facebook page:
The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are devasted by this terrible tragedy with of loss of life and injuries in the Waukesha Christmas parade.
Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness. While performing the grannies enjoyed hearing the crowds’ cheers and applause which certainly brought smiles to their faces and warmed their hearts.
Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies. Their eyes gleamed…..joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue….held us together.
Our hearts are heavy at this most difficult time, as more information and updates become available it will be posted. Please keep them their families, friends, the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, and everyone whose lives have forever changed in your thoughts and prayers.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the fifth victim, Kulich, “worked at Citizens Bank, which said in a statement that ‘one of our team members who was walking with the parade float was struck and passed away as a result of her injuries.’ Our condolences go out to her family and friends for this inconceivable loss, the bank said in its statement. Please lift our team and the entire community as we all grieve.”
Watch the vigil for the victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade tragedy: