Local News

Deforest community gathers to help devastated family

Brian Hinz died in August following garage fire

DEFOREST, Wis. - While some were celebrating Homecoming and Freakfest, a Deforest family gathered over the weekend for a more somber reason.

In August, Brian Hinz died from injuries suffered in a garage fire at his home.

Friends say that on that day, Brian's family felt like they lost everything. 

On Saturday, the sounds of strikes and spares filled Rude's Lanes as a bowling fundraiser was held to honor Brian Hinz and to help his family.

Surrounded by his sisters, Brian's son Jason said the last few months without his father have been tough for all of them.

"Definitely an adjustment period," said Jason. "Everyone trying to deal with the loss of my father, but all and all everybody's been really strong."

"It hit everyone at home when this happened," said event organizer Kelly Rakow. "It felt like a member of our own family had been taken away from us."


It was revealed after the 52-year-old Deforest man died from his injuries that he and his wife didn't have renters' insurance.

Friends of the couple are now hosting fundraisers to make sure his wife doesn't fall onto hard times.

"We wanted to do something local," said Rakow. "With us all being from Deforest, we all wanted to give the Deforest community an opportunity to help out the family."

Organizers hope to raise at least $5,000 from Saturday's event, money Jason said their family can use to rebuild and keep rolling forward.

"She lost everything," Jason said of his mother. "So this is basically to help her on her feet. She's going to move back into the same place she lost. It's being rebuilt right now."

Three months after Brian's death, the Hinz family's hearts are still heavy.

But Jason said it's getting easier to smile because of the thoughtfulness of their neighbors.

"To know that all these people here cared about my dad and for our family," said Jason, "it makes you feel warm and fuzzy all over."

Donations for the family are being accepted at any Anchor Bank location in the Madison area.

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