Northeast Ohio residents dined at Bob Evans restaurants Thursday night to show their support for the Medina Township man who gave his life attempting to save a young girl struggling in choppy Lake Erie waters last month.
Peter Radke, 43, entered Lake Erie at Bay Village’s Huntington Beach Park to help the girl on May 29. He did not emerge from the water.
Sue Gulachek, a family friend of the Radke family, said she contacted Bob Evans because she knew the restaurant did fundraisers.
Bob Evans agreed to donate 15 percent of all sales from all Northeast Ohio locations to the Peter Radke Fund as long as diners brought in a flyer about the Thursday fundraiser.
“I wanted the fundraiser to be more than just Medina,” Gulachek said. “I love them. They are a wonderful family.”
Gulachek said Radke was a giving man and a hero who would jump into the water again if he had the chance.
Radke’s wife, Michelle, and three of their four children attended the fundraiser at the Bob Evans restaurant in Medina Township.
Michelle Radke said it was important to be there because the support from the community has been overwhelming.
“Thank you is not enough,” she said.
“I am shocked with the support the community has shown. People I don’t even know are contributing.”
The community already has raised more than $25,000 as part of a GoFundMe.com campaign and has contributions pouring in from other places.
Michelle Radke said some of the money will be used toward her children’s dreams, whatever they might be.
“I am really proud of my husband. Jumping in the water was probably one of the fastest decisions he had ever made.”
She said her husband talked frequently about what it meant to be successful.
“Having a significant contribution to the world around you measures how successful you are,” she said.
Contact reporter Andrew Davis at (330) 721-4050 or firstname.lastname@example.org.