Remembering Madison Wallace, family and friends share stories of a sweet 16-year-old
By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor - bio | email
VERMILLION, S.D. (KTIV) -
Tuesday night, a community came together to mourn the loss of a Vermillion teen who drowned trying to save her little brother from the Big Sioux River.
Although family and friends said goodbye, they also celebrated Madison Wallace's life.
"I don't know how we're going to move on without her, but I know that she's happy, and it makes me happy," said Lara Wallace after her daughter's service.
Shy and reserved, Lara says her sweet 16-year-old daughter had finally found her voice. She loved playing the French horn, her family, and God.
"She always made me proud," Lara said.
The peacemaker in her family, of three boys and three girls, she was the oldest.
"She's going to volunteer to give up her chair, or here you can have this big cupcake and I'll have the smaller cupcake," her mother explained.
Her heroic effort to save her littlest sibling, six-year-old Garrett from the Big Sioux River didn't surprise her parents.
"All she knew is that she loved her brother and she wanted to help him," Lara said.
Madison's friends are still coping with their loss. Many filed into her memorial service Tuesday night to say goodbye.
"She's the nicest person that I ever met. She accepted everyone for who they are," said Caitlin Siegel.
"She had a very good sense of humor," added Shania Mallory.
"She would just be friends with anyone who came and talked to her," said Hope Knedler, who played the French Horn at her friend's service.
Though it was a tearful time for friends, Madison's family was comforted by those stories.
"It means a lot to me that she was loved," said Lara.
Madison dreamed of being a writer. Lara found this quote in her daughter's dresser drawer in the days after she died: "She said that, ‘life is like a story, and there's always a hard part.' Her memory will be the story she always wished to write, and it will be written in our hearts forever," said Lara.
Lyle Eagletail's heroism was also mentioned more than once during the service. The 28-year-old Sioux Falls man jumped into the Big Sioux to rescue Garrett Wallace. He also drowned.
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