Emily Willegal Remembered 10 Years Later

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by Matt Doyle

 It was a case that sent shockwaves thru the City of Milwaukee...a young woman snatched off the street on Milwaukee's East Side, raped and then left to die in a North Side alley. Ten years nearly to the day after 24 year-old Emily Willegal was killed...her parents, friends and former co-workers are gathering to honor her memory.

Those gathering don't look at the negatives of that horrifying night ten years ago...they want to focus on the positives and legacy Emily left behind.
 
"Are you kidding? She's here right now and she's saying 'you go girls, you go guys' enjoy. It's party time," Emily’s mother, Paisley Woodside said.
 
It's been ten years since Emily Willegal had a beer.   But Friday night many friends and family gathered to drink her beer at rock bottom brewery.
 
"It means a lot,” Jim Willegal, Emily’s father, said. “To know that she meant enough to this community event though she wasn't from the area, she touched a lot of people while she was here."
 
Emily's mother deals with her loss daily. She offers advice to others living in a city like Milwaukee.
 
"Know your space,” Woodside advised. “Pay attention to that little voice inside of you and you will avoid situations that can potentially harm you."
 
Even though it's been a decade, they continue to raise money for the healing center, which helps victims of sexual assault in the area.
 
"The funding is going to something so worthy and so special," Woodside said.
 
Portions of the beer sales go to help the Healing Center provide free services.
 
"This benefit has, so far, over the years given the Healing Center over $56,000,” Healing Center Executive Director MaryAnn Clesceri said. “Which is incredible for a restaurant in Milwaukee to give one organization."
 
While he says life goes on, Jim Willegal still struggles with the thought.
 
"I know I'll see her again someday,” Jim said.   “That Kenny Chesney song, 'Who you'd be today.' It gets me."

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