Onalaska, WISCONSIN (WXOW) - On July 29th, Onalaska K-9 Officer Dan McCluskey was at home when his son alerted him to smoke billowing from under the eves of their residence. Officer McCluskey was able to get his family and pets out of the house before it was engulfed. Thanks to the quick response of the Galesville, Ettrick and Trempealeau Fire Departments some of the McCuskey's belongings were salvaged. However despite their best efforts the house was a total loss.
Losing your home to a fire is tragic and traumatic in and of its self. Unfortunately for the McCluskey family it was the third in a series of events that came together to make for a very rough year.
Aidan McCluskey, now 14 has been awaiting a kidney transplant since he was a small child. The plan was to wait until he was in his mid-teens and have his mother Megan be the donor. The surgery was being planned for later this year. Then in April of 2013 Megan was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and prescribed chemotherapy which made her ineligible as a donor. The fire, coming on the last day of Meg's Chemo treatment, was a devastating blow to a family already reeling.
"Dan, Meg and Aidan are family to us," said Officer Lisa Gerbig of the Onalaska Police Department, "I was at the fire and saw the devastation firsthand. The people in our Department immediately wanted to do something to help, that's when the McCluskey Fund was established."
Officer Gerbig and another Department employee approached the Bank of Galesville because the McCluskeys are longtime residents and the fund was set up that same day.
"We had people calling in wanting to know where to send donations," said Officer Gerbig, "there were so many people who wanted to help that setting up the fund just made sense. We wanted to do more because the McCluskeys are a family who have contributed greatly to their community and to Onalaska. So when we were approached about doing a benefit we immediately said yes."
The benefit, planned for November the 2nd, will be held at the Holmen Legion and will run from 3p.m. until 10p.m. There will be silent auctions, a pie auction, live auctions, food and numerous raffles, just to name a few of the events. Everyone is welcomed to attend.
McCluskey family hope to raise enough to help with not only the aftermath of the fire but medical expenses for Aidan and Meg as well.
Financial donations can be mailed to The McCluskey Fund C/O of the Bank of Galesville, PO Box 94, Trempealeau, WI 54661.
Anyone interested in donating items for the Silent Auction should contact Carrie Pohjola at 608-865-0454 or at MccluskeyBenefit@gmail.com. Silent Auction items can also be dropped off with Pam Sharp at the Onalaska Police Department, the Holmen Police Department or at the Boondocks Lockeroom in Galesville during business hours.
Event coordinators are happy to arrange for pick-up of donated items, for pick up please call either Carrie Pohjola at 608-865-0454 or Pam Sharp at 608-392-0275.
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