Savannah's Pay It Forward Foundation, known as S.P.I.F.F., is urging people who venture onto Lake Winnebago this winter to take precautions. The organization advises motorists to keep their windows rolled down and doors unlocked, leave their seat belts off and drive slowly.
S.P.I.F.F. formed two years ago after 9-year-old Savannah Kleinhans and her father, Danial, died when the truck they were in on Lake Winnebago plunged through the ice on Feb. 14, 2009, during opening day of sturgeon-spearing season.
No rescue team was nearby, and it took about an hour and a half to get them out, according to a new release from Mike Hartmann, S.P.I.F.F. board member. Savannah's friend, Tiffany Dombrowski, was in the truck and survived.
S.P.I.F.F. has been raising money along with the Calumet County Dive Team and others to ensure a faster response to emergencies on the lake. Calumet County Dive Team members will be on standby at Pipe and Brothertown this sturgeon-spearing season, which will cut response time significantly, according to the news release.
The group wants to train and outfit more divers to be accessible year-round. S.P.I.F.F. will continue to assist in raising funds for fire departments wishing to implement dive teams.
Anyone wishing to donate to S.P.I.F.F. may do so at www.spiffonline.org or by mailing a contribution to P.O. Box 95, St. Nazianz, WI, 54232. All donations are tax-deductible.