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Friends honor woman with dog chow
This story was published Friday, February 9th, 2007
By Michelle Dupler, Herald staff writer
Friends of Samantha Semmern plan to honor her memory by donating more than 800 pounds of dog food to the animal shelter where she served as a volunteer.
Monday marks six months since the 22-year-old, known to her loved ones as Sami, was killed by a drunk driver on Highway 240 at Van Giesen Street in Richland.
The driver, David Pleake, now is serving a nearly five-year prison sentence for her death.
After the fatal wreck, longtime family friend Mike Wingfield took up the effort to raise money for a memorial bench and signs bearing her picture and the words "Please don't drink and drive."
The items will be placed near the scene of the accident in about two months, he said. Semmern's family also was involved in the fundraising.
He found he had about $166 left over after ordering the signs and bench, so Wingfield thought it would be appropriate to support a cause Semmern loved.
He put in enough money to bring the total up to $200, and took that to Albertson's to buy dog food for the Benton-Franklin Humane Society.
Albertson's gave him a discount, and his $200 turned into more than 800 pounds of kibble. Wingfield will deliver the bounty to the Humane Society at 2 p.m. today.
The Benton-Franklin Humane Society relies entirely on community donations to shelter and feed an average of about 20 animals, said Operations Manager Ed Dawson.
"Whenever anybody donates any supplies for the animals, it's big for us because that's one less thing we end up paying for," he said. "(Semmern) will live on through this donation to us."
Wingfield has been a close friend of Semmern's mother, Linda Fastabend, for about 30 years, and Semmern and his son were childhood friends. Her death Aug. 12 was a shock to his family, he said.
"I got the phone call and just ... our whole family was screaming," he said.
He believes giving something to the Humane Society is an appropriate way to honor her memory.
"Sami would be thrilled," he said. "She was so into animals and just the thought that there was so much outpouring and something good was coming. ... I want to thank all our friends and family for their outpouring."
Unfortunately, many state's laws do not reflect that a human life was taken (5 years seems light).
Here is the previous thread on this: