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Fifth annual “Day at the Lake” aims to unify community and law enforcement

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WEST SALEM, Wis. (WXOW) – The Sara Rose Hougom Foundation raises money for events like the Fifth annual “Day at the Lake” to unify community with local law enforcement.

Sara Rose Hougom was killed seven years ago and her mother Sherry Hougom started and continues the foundation in her daughter’s honor. In 2019, the foundation raised $13,000 for six different police agencies that work in the coulee region.

“It’s just a day for fun,” La Crosse Police Department Officer Dan Ulrich said. “Where they can see us as human beings and we can joke and laugh in a very low-stress environment.”

Sherry Hougom said that all of the participants want the same thing for the community–a safe environment.

“We want to unite all of the agencies together–the kiddos and the police,” Hougom said. “All of them have that same passion and drive for a brighter and safer community so that’s why it’s so easy to unite with them.”

“I think it’s great for the community and kids, in general, to be able to see some of the things that we might have to wear in high-risk situations, or the different things that we have in our squad cars that we have to use on a daily basis,” West Salem Police Department Officer Brett Myers said. “The few minutes of interacting with these children to show them these types of things, I think, puts down their guard a little bit and they know that they’re safe with the officers that they’re with.”

The event was free and included youth groups like The Boys and Girls Club and Big Brothers, Big Sisters. Heart art that decorated the event and face painting was inspired by actual hearts drawn by Sara Rose Hougom. For future events, and more information visit the Sara Rose Hogoum Foundation’s Facebook page.

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Marcus Aarsvold

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