Garden Walk to benefit stabbing victims in Leaf River

Online Staff Report

July 3, two lives in Leaf River, Ill., were shattered in a matter of minutes. Shannon (known as Denise) and Dave Zellers were at home when their door was kicked in, and they were attacked at knife point by a man who seemed bent on murder. Denise received a stab wound very near her heart, damaging two arteries as well as two other defensive wounds. Dave came immediately to his wife’s defense, and a life-and-death struggle ensued. Dave also suffered multiple stab wounds, one of which tore the muscle from the bone on his left shoulder.

According to news reports, the attacker was identified as Michael Mitchell, a disgruntled man who had a complaint about the village’s water quality. David Zellers works for Leaf River’s water maintenance department, and he took the complaint when Mitchell called in. Zellers tried to explain that chemical levels were within EPA limits, but Mitchell was not satisfied with the explanation.

The couple’s situation is especially unfortunate since they have no health insurance. Furniture was broken, and blood stained much of their main floor. Then they discovered that a biohazard team has to clean up the blood and anything fabric has to be destroyed: furniture, curtains and carpeting. They are not allowed to stay in the their home until this cleanup is complete. Their physical and emotional damage is staggering.

An account has been set up at Forreston State Bank, P.O. Box 278, Forreston, IL 61030, or call (815) 938-3121. Checks may be made payable to: Benefit of Shannon (Denise) & Dave Zellers. More fund-raising events might be forthcoming; please Facebook Leaf River Roller Girls.

Many neighbors and friends in Leaf River are trying to help raise funds for Dave and Denise Zellers. You are invited to a Garden Walk set for July 23 and 24, organized by five neighbors just orth of Leaf River. Enjoy the color and style of these gardens, many of which have ponds.

The Krupa Garden, 10229 N. Leaf River Road, is situated on a hill and has great vistas both east and west, with a grand porch to enjoy an iced tea The driveway at the Newcomer Garden at 10046 N. Leaf River Road rolls down to a pond. They enjoy feeding birds, and you might spot a Baltimore oriole.

The Badertscher Garden at 4498 W. Otter Road has a pond, gazebo and pool. Theirs is a gift of love, as their home was damaged by the tornado this spring that destroyed many of their old-growth trees.

The Rose Garden at 11606 N. Mt. Morris Road has a pond and is a beautiful oasis. The home was once an early one-room schoolhouse. Next door, North Grove Christian Church, established in 1858, has a lovely garden to stroll and a beautiful historic cemetery.

Maps will be available at each garden. A donation bucket will be available at each location, so you may view one or all of these exceptional gardens. All donations will be donated to the account. If you wish to write a check, make it payable to: Benefit of Shannon (Denise) & Dave Zellers. By donation, many surprises await: flower bulbs and seeds, birdwatching, handcrafted birdhouses and the church cookbooks will be for sale.

The Garden Walk will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, July 23, and from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, July 24. Homes are 2-1/2 miles north of Route 72 in Leaf River or 2-1/2 miles south of Montague Road. For information, call Mary Rose Krupa at (815) 520-2082.

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