DeForest Concert Celebrates Life of Fallen Soldier

A community celebrates the life of a fallen soldier Friday night.

A benefit concert honored the life of Lance Corporal Shane O'Donnell while raising money and awareness of a program he loved.

Students, friends, and fellow Marine families all gathered in his memory.

"My brother even after he died I know he wouldn't want people, obviously you're going to get sad but it's all about the way he lived and the way he was," says Eric O'Donnell, Shane's brother.

He and his band played Friday as a tribute to Shane, who died in November while serving in Iraq.

His mother, Peggy O'Donnell, remembers a very special moment. "The last time we were here [the DeForest Area High School Little Theater] Eric dedicated the last song to his brother, it was right before Shane shipped and they did the song together. So this is tough tonight."

They're once again back in the theater, trying to take a negative and make it positive.

"The trade programs were important to Shane, and because they were important to Shane they were important to us," says concert organizer Jessica Suchomel, "And so we wanted to do something to help and to show everyone else that he mattered."

Eric O'Donnell adds, "I had a lot of friends who didn't know what they were going to do and nobody told us about the trade programs at all so it's worth it. That way people will know what they have out their besides four–year colleges."

"The school here did not have many programs on apprenticeships and Shane thought that was important," says Peggy. As tears well up in her eyes she says, "It's awesome, it's a tribute that really, Shane did earn."

And it was one more way for DeForest residents to show how much Shane O'Donnell meant to his hometown.

All proceeds from the concert will go to the Shane O'Donnell Fund, which pays for the promotion of the MATC trade programs.

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