Girls raise money for police through words of positivity

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MARSHFIELD, Wis. (WSAW) -- Two girls helped police in their community get one step closer to getting new radios for better communication. It was made possible by spreading a little positivity through the community.

Twelve-year-old Samantha Ridgway and Jenna Foemmel raised funds for the department through hand-painted signs showing positive messages on pallets donated from an area business.

Multiple signs hang inside community businesses. Each sign has its own words of encouragement. Rodgway and Foemmel thought of the idea to sell businesses the pallets as a means for raising funds for police.

"Officers were struggling to communicate with each other with their radios because they were getting old and starting to not work as well. So we thought, 'Oh we can help with this,' and so we started this fundraiser," Ridgway explained.

The fundraiser brought some encouragement to people during a time of year when things can be pretty stressful.

"They're just going through a rough time in their life and they just need some encouraging messages and that's what this is for," Ridgway said.

Thomas Kirschbaum, owner and artist at Midwest Tattooers, knows a thing or two about living life without positivity or encouragement.

"I used to get in a lot of trouble. I'm an 11 time felon. I've spent a lot of prison time in Wisconsin, art and God changed my life," Kirschbaum said.

It's part of the reason he was among multiple business owner who purchased a sign from Ridway and Foemmel. He said the one the girls made for him speaks volumes.

"It relates exactly to my life. Because it says, Nnever be a prisoner of your past.' It was just a lesson not a life sentence," Kirschbaum explained. "I forever thought that I would have that life. I used to wake up in a prison cell. It absolutely blows my mind. So I thought it was pretty neat that the sign spoke to me so much."

Signs he and other business owners will proudly show off to anyone who walks through their doors.

"I think it's a good way to show positivity to the community, and maybe that message might reach somebody that needed to hear it that day," Heather Gross, owner at the Frayed Knot, explained.

The impact these painted pallets are having around Marshfield is why Samantha and Jenna say they'll keep looking for more positive actions for their community.

"We will probably do more things like this," Ridgway said.

The two girls were able to raise more than $600 for Marshfield Police.

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