Community Rallies Around Sheboygan Falls Family at Memorial Service for Children Killed in House Fire
The Sheboygan Falls community is rallying around a local family, after three of their four children died in a house fire.
A visitation and memorial was held for 11-year-old Natalie Martin, 10-year-old Ben Martin and 7-year-old Carter Maki.
So many people came out Monday night they had to be bused in.
Inside the church, it was standing room only as the service began, with the community encouraged to hold each others hands, ending a message to the Maki family: We're in this together.
"I can just still see those kids in their Wizin' Up t-shirts and the smiles that they brought," said Michael Buehler, the children's youth group leader.
Monday night was about the memories. Thousands of people came here to honor the memory of three little lives gone too soon.
"I remember visiting the kids this summer. They were just great kids running through a sprinkler," said Buehler.
Buehler was the children's youth group leader and says the family touched many lives
"They did things together as a family," said Buehler.
"They're one of those families that it's not hard to get behind, not hard to support," said lead pastor of Crossroads Community Church, Jeff Jaeger.
So well loved that when nearly one thousand people were expected to attend their memorial, another, larger church stepped up to host. A local business provided overflow parking and a bus company donated their vehicles and drivers to help out.
"In the midst of something like this we really do believe and trust in the fact that God is still good and he can bring good out of some really bad stuff," said Jaeger.
Jaeger has a close bond with the Maki family and he says their strength and faith during this trying time is a lesson for many.
"This is a really important step in their healing process," he said.
And while their church family keeps the faith, the community says, they're keeping this family wrapped tightly in their arms.
"What's gonna get this family through is the people that suround them. The people that believe God can get us through anything," said Buehler.
Pastor Jaeger says the family is so thankful and humbled by the help they've already been given. They wont know where they'll be staying permanently for about another week. But you can donate to their GoFundMe here: https://www.gofundme.com/2sfp2eyc