Michael Michalski, a 17-year veteran of the Milwaukee Police Department, was gunned down in the line of duty on July 25. Michalski, who was 52, is survived by his wife, Susan, and his sons, John, Joshua and Andrew.
In the wake of Michalski’s death, several southeastern Wisconsin businesses planned and organized community fundraisers in his honor.
“We felt doing something directly for the family was important,” said Joel Klamann, owner of O’Brien’s Pub in Milwaukee.
When the tragedy occurred, Klamann approached Milwaukee-based Lakefront Brewery to create a special “Brew for the Blue” tap handle.
“Lakefront donated a keg of Riverwest Stein for the event, and so did we,” Klamann said.
All the money raised from those two kegs, plus a dollar from every burger sold at O’Brien’s during the month of August, was donated directly to Michalski’s family.
“We wrote a check to Officer Michalski’s wife for $1,342,” Klamann said.
The check was hand delivered through the Milwaukee Police Department.
O’Brien’s Pub has provided support to the Milwaukee Police Department in the past through donations to its “National Night Out” campaign, Klamann added.
Other area businesses also raised funds for Michalski.
Sweeney’s Gym on Milwaukee’s south side hosted free yoga classes in exchange for donations made in honor and remembrance of Michalski. Sobelman’s Pub & Grill in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley also donated $1 from every burger sold on Saturday, August 4, and The Packing House restaurant on Milwaukee’s south side donated $1 from every fish fry sold on Friday, Aug. 2, and raised $3,500 for the Michalski family.
Jennifer Clark, owner of Jen’s Sweet Treats in Cudahy, has never met Susan Michalski or her family, but she knows what it feels like to lose a spouse, and people she works with knew the family well.
Clark donated 100 percent of bakery sales on Wednesday, Aug. 1 to the Michalski family, and also collected donations from the community Aug. 1 through Aug. 5.
In total, Jen’s Sweet Treats raised approximately $11,400 for the Michalski family.
“It definitely hit close to home,” Clark said. “But even without the personal connection I would have done it because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes people just need to step up and do the right thing.”
When Clark established Jen’s Sweet Treats, she did so with the intention of making a difference in the community. Over the past three years, the company has raised more than $25,000 for the veterans Honor Flight. The company has also assisted with fundraisers for cancer awareness, food pantries, local high schools and hurricane relief efforts.
“It’s what we do,” she said. “One cupcake at a time.”
Michalski was laid to rest on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Memorial Park in Brookfield after a memorial service at Oak Creek Assembly of God Church. Law enforcement officers from all over the country traveled to southeastern Wisconsin for the service, and thousands of people gathered along the processional to pay their respects to the fallen officer.
Jonathan Copeland Jr. is charged in connection with his death.
A memorial fund was also established at Tri City National Bank, and donations are being accepted online at gofundme.com/9yuzd-michael-michalski.
The official GoFundMe page has raised nearly $48,000 in donations.