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Theater, bank host fundraising events for crash heroes

Benefits focus on family-friendly entertainment

July 28, 2009

Elm Grove is still rallying in support of police officer John Krahn and West Allis resident Scott Partenfelder, the two men injured in the Memorial Day train-van collision.

Sunset Playhouse and Town Bank of Elm Grove will hold fundraising events to help offset the men's medical expenses.

"(Krahn) is still recovering," Police Chief Jim Gage said. "His progress is slow and steady and has a lot of physical therapy ahead just to get back to doing normal things."

Krahn was performing policing duties at the Memorial Day parade site when the minivan carrying Partenfelder's wife and 2-year-old son became stuck on the tracks. Seeing a train approaching, both men rushed to free the occupants of the minivan. Krahn was able to pull Monica Ensley-Partenfelder from the driver's seat, and the two men were working to free the 2-year-old from his car seat when the train hit the van, which struck and injured Krahn and Partenfelder.

The child was unharmed thanks to the car seat. Krahn sustained fractures in his legs, shoulder and pelvis, broke four ribs, sprained his right leg and ankle, and was bruised all over his body. Partenfelder sustained injuries to his chest and body. Both were treated at Froedtert Hospital.

'Fame' yields donations

On Sunday, Sunset Playhouse will donate 10 percent of ticket sales from the 7 p.m. performance of "Fame" to the recovering men.

"We have always felt that a function as a part of the community is to give back, not just in the plays we perform … and we recognized a need to help a neighbor," said Jonathan West, managing director at Sunset.

West said a typical Sunset Playhouse show has 200 to 250 people in the audience, and the theater can hold up to 299.

The musical "Fame," based on the movie, follows a group of teenagers' trials and tribulations at a performing arts high school from freshman year through graduation.

"It's a precursor to the teen movie musicals like 'High School Musical,' " West said.

The funds raised will be split evenly between Krahn and Partenfelder. Patrons also will be able to donate directly to the men that night, West said.

Family event for family guys

Town Bank of Elm Grove is planning a cookout filled with family-friendly experiences Aug. 8 to benefit Krahn and Partenfelder.

"We couldn't think of a better event to employ our time at," said Jim McMullen, market president for Town Bank. "We're a community bank. We like to give back to the community."

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., the "A Day for Our Heroes" cookout will feature hot dogs and brats, pony rides, face-painting, a dunk tank, balloons and games at Town Bank, 13150 Watertown Plank Road.

Members of the community have been donating items for an auction. McMullen said people interested in donating items can call Laura Swiecichowski of Town Bank at (262) 789-8696.

"Because both men are family guys, it's going to be a family event," McMullen said.

Krahn and Partenfelder hope to attend the event from noon to 1 p.m.

"It's been really outstanding," Gage said of the community support. "What (Krahn) did was pretty exceptional."

Donations also can be made directly to Town Bank through accounts set up for Krahn and Partenfelder, McMullen said.

If you go

WHAT: Sunset Playhouse's performance of "Fame" with 10 percent of tickets sales benefiting officer John Krahn and West Allis resident Scott Partenfelder

WHEN: 7 p.m. Sunday

WHERE: Sunset Playhouse, 800 Elm Grove Road

COST: $20 per ticket

CONTACT: (262) 782-4430

WHAT: "A Day for Our Heroes," family cookout fundraiser for Krahn and Partenfelder featuring pony rides, games and an auction

WHEN: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 8

WHERE: Town Bank, 13150 Watertown Plank Road

CONTACT: (262) 789-8696

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