Benefit planned for injured deputy, who is now in rehab

By Kellen Olshefski


A special event and motorcycle ride benefiting Walworth County Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Blanchard is set for Saturday, Oct. 9, with the main event taking place from 1 to 9 p.m. at the Walworth County Fairgrounds in Elkhorn.

A 20-plus year veteran of the sheriff’s department and former officer in Burlington, Blanchard suffered critical injuries while preparing to deploy a tire deflation device on Highway 120 north of Kniep Road in an attempt to stop a vehicle fleeing police at a high rate of speed in the early hours of Aug. 1. The driver of the vehicle, 25-year-old Tony Perales, lost control and struck the guardrail Blanchard had taken a position behind.

Sponsored by the Southeast Wisconsin Chapter of the Thin Blue Line Law Enforcement Motorcycle Club, the Oct. 9 motorcycle ride will registration open from 9 to 10:15 a.m. at Farmer’s Inn, 15 Wisconsin St., in Darien. The ride itself is set to begin at 10:30 a.m., with stops including Kelly’s Bleachers in Wind Lake, Double D’s in Mukownago and Jackson’s Hole in Lake Geneva. The ride will end at the Walworth County Fairgrounds at about 2 p.m. Registration costs $20 per person, or $30 per couple.

Following the ride, from 1 to 9 p.m. that day, a family event featuring food, drinks, raffles, live music, silent auction items and goodies will take place at the Walworth County Fairgrounds, 411 E. Court St., Elkhorn.

Live music will be from 5 to 9 p.m., provided by Mt. Olive, described as one of Milwaukee’s premier cover bands playing arena rock, pop, classic rock, country and music from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Organizers are requesting donation items for baskets, silent auctions and, those interested can donate an entire basket already put together, or donate gift certificates or other items that can be part of a basket.

Items can be scheduled for pickup this week by emailing or calling 262-745-4853. In a post to the 596 Strong Facebook Group, Beckett Runge, Blanchard’s daughter, also noted that A+ Power Sports in Elkhorn has volunteered to be a drop-off location for donations. Store hours 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.

Event organizers are requesting the items by Oct. 2, if possible.

Road to recovery

Though Blanchard still has a long road ahead of him, he remains in good spirits, according to the donation letter and posts on the 596 Strong Facebook page.

Blanchard, who has undergone numerous surgeries since the incident, was transferred to Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin earlier this month and is being transported back and forth to Froedtert for surgeries. He most recently underwent a scheduled surgery on Sept. 26 that took longer than expected – more than seven hours – and focused on his face, hands, arms and legs, according to the page, which reports he is recovering and doing well.

In a video posted Aug. 29, Blanchard can be heard thanking supporters over the phone at an event after having his feeding tube removed earlier that day.

“I feel like a little kid who’s missing his front teeth and all he wants for Christmas are his front teeth,” he joked. “I guess when the car was coming at me, hitting the guard rail and I put my arms up to defend the car from hitting me, it couldn’t stop it from taking out my front teeth.”

Blanchard thanked supporters throughout the community and law enforcement communities, from friends and family to complete strangers.

“I’m getting better daily, I’m getting in more steps forward than I am going backwards,” he said in the video.

“I want to promise you all this: when I am better – if you ever need anything related to this job, related to outside of this job – you know how to get ahold of me. Reach out to me; I will be there in your corner, I will support you 110%,” he said.

Blanchard also said he wants to be spokesperson for the club, helping to move everyone forward so that all law enforcement officers return to their families a winner.

“We’re going to continue going forward. Keep the prayers coming, that’s all I ask, and just be there for one another, not only my family and myself but everybody,” Blanchard said.

“We all need each other, and you guys are showing that.”



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