Heartfelt memorials:

Scholarship, Hunt of a Lifetime donations underscore fond memories of OHS graduate who died in February
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press staff

 It takes a village, and beyond, to award a scholarship, to coin a phrase.

    Among the hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships given out at the recent Ozaukee High School commencement was a $500 scholarship awarded in the memory of Austin Bares, a former OHS student who was killed in a snowmobile accident in February.

    It’s the first of five scholarships to be given to a student seeking to pursue training in a technical field — just as her son did, said Bares’ mother Cathy Wiedmer.

    “We wanted to do something,” she said. “We wanted it to be to somebody going to a technical school because that’s what Austin did, and the kids who go to tech schools don’t often get the scholarships.”

    Bares, 23, was a 2014 graduate of Ozaukee High School and graduated from Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend in 2016 after studying to be a tool-and-die maker.

    He was employed as an apprentice tool-and-die maker in Germantown at the time of his death.

    The money for the scholarships mostly came from donations given in Bares’ name either at his funeral or in cards sent to the family, Wiedmer said.

    The family also requested that memorials be donated to the Random Lake Rod and Gun Club for  the Hunt of a Lifetime, a nationwide charity that provides hunting and fishing trips to children with terminal illnesses.

    A total of $6,175 was donated to the club in Bares’ name, mostly during the club’s March Deer Classic, said Tim Schmitz, a club board member who also is the club’s co-ambassador to Hunt of a Lifetime.

    Bares was active with the club and well known among its members, Schmitz said.

    Schmitz said the Random Lake group is the largest donor to the fund in the state.

    “We thought that was something Austin would have liked to donate to, a program that allows kids to hunt or fish,” Wiedmer said.

    The family helped choose the high school scholarship recipient, also keeping in mind what Bares would have wished.

    They selected the winner “blind,” without knowing the applicant’s name, basing it completely on the applicant’s background and goals, Wiedmer said.

    She said they were pleased when the family found out the scholarship in her son’s  name went to David Redmond, who plans to seek a tool-and-die apprenticeship, according to the high school.

    Ironically, Redmond’s brother Luke attended MPTC with her son, Wiedmer said.

    “I was very happy that (Redmond) got it,” she said. “Things circle back in a small community, I guess.”

    Bares was killed the night of Saturday, Feb. 9, in Forest County while snowmobiling with two friends on Pickerel Lake. 

    According to the state Department of Natural Resources, Bares fell off the snowmobile being driven by one friend and was struck by a trailing machine driven by his other friend. He died at the scene before he could be evacuated by a medical flight.

    The other two men were uninjured. They were cited for first-offense operating a snowmobile while intoxicated and last week were ordered to pay fines. They did not face criminal charges.

    Wiedmer said she was pleased with the outcome in court.

    “We’re happy with the outcome. We prayed for the best possible outcome,” she said.

    “We didn’t hear from the district attorney, but we would never have wanted charges pressed. And I know Austin would never wanted charges pressed against his good friends.”

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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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