RAPID CITY, S.D. — It was 23 years ago Friday, that 17-year-old Josh Haugen, lost his life in a jet ski accident at Pactola Reservoir while not wearing a life jacket.
“Everybody loved josh. He always made you smile, never said a negative thing about anybody,” said Josh’s mom, Louise McDaniels.
Every year for the last three years, Josh’s family remembers him with a fundraiser for the Rapid City/Pennington County Water Rescue Team that found his body.
All to share a message — one that warns others of what they’ve lost.
“We just don’t want anybody to go through what we’ve through and that’s part of why we’re trying to make a difference,” McDaniels said.
The fundraiser, which was held at Canyon Lake Park, featured food, live music and games – the most extensive one they’ve planned yet.
“There’s just a lot that went into it but I think we did it. We did it,” McDaniels said.
After josh’s death, the family donated a boat to the water rescue team – which gave it a special name.
Now, that boat is being retired.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have what we named Joshua for the last 23 years and it’s been a very great boat for us and served our water rescue team and area handsomely for a very long time,” said Keith Trojanowski, the Station 3 Captain for the Rapid City Fire Department.
At the fundraiser, a new boat, one that’s built specifically for water rescue missions was blessed and it will carry over that same name.
“We’re gunna name our boat behind me, Joshua two, roman numeral, just to carry on the memory of the tragedy that happened in 1999,”
Raising money and hope while spreading a message.