Chippewa Strong

Following is a media release from Nikki Hoernke, Chippewa County Department of Public Health:

Local Organizations Seek to Make the Chippewa Community Strong after Tragedies

Chippewa Falls, WI —After a string of tragedies in Chippewa Falls during recent years, numerous local organizations say they want to foster a sense of healing and hope among area residents. The result is Chippewa Strong – an effort to build community resiliency by bringing people together to learn, share and practice positive coping strategies.

The two-part series kicks off on Jan. 30 at the Heyde Center in Chippewa Falls with a presentation by Denise Olson, who lost her firefighter husband during the 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. That event will also feature dinner and discussions for participants to explore the concept of community resilience further.  

Over fifteen different organizations came together to help make this series happen.

“We have seen so many students and families impacted by recent tragedies – the need for both formal and informal support has never been greater,” said Jamie Ganske, Director of Mental Health and Resiliency for the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District. “The ripple effects of these events can have far-reaching impacts, and our community partners recognize the need to bring people together to heal.”

Chippewa County Public Health Director/Health Officer, Angie Weideman, added that the second part of the series will offer a fun, positive, energetic experience where community members can try out different techniques for self-care. Scheduled for May 5 at the Northern Wisconsin State Fairgrounds, the event also seeks to strengthen the ability of individuals and groups to bounce back from adversity. 

“Our community members have come together time after time to support each other in the aftermath of tragedy, and that is something we cannot afford to take for granted,” Weideman said. “While we cannot always stop bad things from happening, we can take proactive steps to take care of ourselves, which then enables us to help those around us as well.”

The YMCA will provide childcare at both events. Registration is encouraged but not required.

To learn more or register for the Jan. 30 gathering, go to the Chippewa Strong website at