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Fundraiser honors Bay View bartender killed in Christmas Eve hit-and-run crash

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Family and friends of a Milwaukee bartender, killed in a hit-and-run crash on Christmas Eve, gathered to remember her on Monday, Dec. 30, while getting support from the community. 

A fundraiser for the family of 36-year-old James Hanson took place at the Milwaukee Brat House on Old World Third Street.

Hanson was killed after being hit while walking her dogs near Rosedale and Howell in Bay View on Dec. 24.

Hundreds of people showed up to the event.

Dozens of bartenders from all over the city volunteered for guest shifts playing bar dice where all the money went to the benefit.

There were also several items being raffled and auctioned off, including signed Bucks and Packers memorabilia.

A celebratory mood prevailed, even as friends are still coming to terms with Hanson's sudden death.

"It's emotional seeing everyone here and seeing everything they put together for her, because she really was such a great person," said Karly Graham, a friend.

Even people who never met Hanson, like Paul Kennedy, one of the volunteer bartenders, say it feels like losing a family member because of how close the service industry is.

"There's a lot of misty eyes and people are choking up a lot," Kennedy said. "It just says what a cool city Milwaukee is and the service industry community is the best in the nation."

A witness to the hit-and-run said the driver then ran into a light pole and another vehicle before speeding off. 

The vehicle involved in the crash was recovered, but police are still looking for the driver. 

The owner of the Brat House told CBS 58 the bar is putting up a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the driver who killed Hanson.

Other bars have announced rewards as well totaling about $2,000.

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