GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A major donation and surprise gift are lifting up local child abuse victims and sex assault survivors.
Ride to Advocate was held in August in Oconto County. The law enforcement motorcycle ride and raffle raised $20,000 for Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center and the Sexual Assault Center. The organizations help some of the most vulnerable crime victims.
Few words describe the impact.
"This money will essentially keep our organization running," says Chelsey Steffens, victim/legal advocate, Sexual Assault Center. "We rely heavily on volunteers, but we have staff members that work with victims and survivors in the community to support them in their healing and their legal process."
Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center and the Sexual Assault Center will split the record donation.
Oconto County Sheriff's Office Investigator Justen Ragen is the President of the Other Guys Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club. The club is made up of officers from multiple agencies in Northeast Wisconsin.
"It's huge for us. It's our largest year yet, and this puts us to almost $70,000 that we've donated to both," says Ragen.
The officers are passionate about helping the organizations who help the victims of crimes they investigation.
"They take care of such a large chunk of our case load, handling the victims and the families and the child advocacy interviews that without that, our cases would not be to the standard we want them to be," says Deputy Sheriff Joe LeBreck, Oconto County Sheriff's Office.
With the big donation comes a surprise. A community member hand-crafted a wooden Harley-Davidson as a raffle item. An officer purchased a lot of tickets and won the prize. He gifted it back to the Child Advocacy Center.
"So it will be on display in our waiting room for all the children who come to our center to enjoy," says Kristie Sickel, Program Supervisor, Willow Tree Cornerstone Child Advocacy Center.
In 2019, these organizations have helped more than 2,800 child victims and adult sexual assault survivors.