Fundraiser Held for Victims of Bellevue Parade Tragedy

By Brian Boesen, WQAD Reporter

BELLEVUE, Iowa - Children in Bellevue, Iowa spent Saturday afternoon doing what kids do -- during a fundraiser for the victims of the Heritage Days Parade tragedy.

"Our kids saw everything that happened and that's part of the reason we wanted to make this more of a kid thing," said Jen Dema, the coordinator of the event.

"It was a tragic event but I haven't seen anyone sitting around worrying about it. They've been trying to figure out, 'How do we make it better?" said Dave North, a volunteer.

More than two months ago, Bellevue was left in a state of shock after two spooked horses stampeded into the parade crowd. One person was killed. More than 30 others were left injured.

"I remember my dad going down there and my mom going down there," said Marissa Schroeder.

"You could see in the people's faces that the first thing was to focus on the victims and how could they respond and take care of them," said North.

In the hours following the tragedy, the people of Bellevue rallied together to begin fund-raising efforts. To date, they've raised more than a quarter-million dollars for the parade victims.

"Really all about raising money to tell the victims we're there for you, we want to help, and if we can help financially and spiritually; however we can support you, we will," said North.

Dozens of people from Bellevue and surrounding communities took in the auction, music, and games Saturday; remembering the day that no one will soon forget.

"They're healing. Slowly but surely, they're healing," said Dema.

"I think when this is over, I think we'll have our closure. This will be our final chapter," said Steve Schroeder, Jackson County Sheriff's deputy.

For more information on how you can help, contact the Bellevue Chamber of Commerce at (563) 872-5830.
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