RHINELANDER - A girl from Rhinelander battling cancer got a big dose of community love today. Mayor Dick Johns proclaimed today Leanna Kossack day.
Seventeen-year-old Leanna suffers from a rare cancer that doctors are struggling to find an appropriate treatment for.
Today, friends, family, even strangers came out to show their support.
The day started with a bake sale. Then supporters held a rally and walked through downtown Rhinelander to Bugsy's bar to kick off a pub crawl.
Nine downtown pubs are participating with drink specials and raffles.
Organizers say the turnout was overwhelming.
"To support this wonderful girl that's so courageous and so brave, the small community of Rhinelander, our small business owners, tavern owners that have opened up their establishments and allowed the community to come together is an unbelievable feat," says family friend Gayle Wilmot.
"There's a lot of people here to support her. I think she's a really strong person and I'm glad she's here today. I'm so thankful for everybody who's here today, and I think she's very thankful too," says Leanna's sister Alyssa.
There's still time to support Leanna tonight. Some downtown bars are participating in a drink special until midnight tonight. You can get half price drinks with the purchase of a wristband.
The money raised goes toward Leanna's medical expenses, and a foundation to help other kids with cancer.
Participating bars until midnight are: Quade's Place, Knight Gallery, Big Daddy's, Bugsy's, Buckethead's, Robbie's Place and Sunset Junction.
MERRILL - For 32 years Battalion Chief Mike Drury walked into the Merrill Fire Department ready to save lives. Friday he walked out of the department for the last time to start the new phase of his life. "It goes fast it goes really fast," said Drury. Drury was about 18 -years -old when he walked into the Merrill Fire Department for the first time. "When you're 18, 19,20 years old and you're looking at 50 something years old you think you're never going to get there," said Drury.
Drury is one of 184 firefighters to ever work full time with the city of Merrill. "As a firefighter they spend a lot of time at the fire house so they miss a lot of things," said Drury's daughter Cassi. After 32 years of missing birthdays, holidays and family time Drury was ready for a change. "I realized I had enough this is a young man's job," said Drury. Friday afternoon Drury said goodbye to a room of men who merged and became family. "Not having that is a little scary I know they'll always be our family but it's hard to leave," said Cassi. Cassi watched her dad rush off to help his community since the day she was born. "It's scary because you hear about the times things don't go right or the times fire fighters don't come home," said Cassi.
RHINELANDER - A Rhinelander couple thought they were empty nesters. However, an experience volunteering made them open their doors back up to kids who need a temporary home. The Zoerb's adult children moved out years ago. But at any moment they could get a call from social services that make them bring out their parenting skills for another round. Rick and Danielle Zoerb work together as realtors putting people in homes that are the perfect fit. However, the husband and wife know their home can be a good fit for others too. "There's no reason for kids to have to fall through the cracks," said Dani. Rick met a child at a mentorship program a few years ago. It was a meeting that opened a new door for him and his wife. "There was no hesitation on our part when we felt the situation was deteriorating for this young boy," said Rick.
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