SIOUX FALLS, SD -
Many people in the community are still shaken by the tragic deaths of Madison Wallace and Lyle Eagle Tail. The two died after jumping into the Big Sioux River to save Wallace's younger brother. The boy was able to make it to the shore.
One Sioux Falls woman believes the act of heroism should be honored in a public way.
"Gentle spirit about him. Always happy, but yet, when he would smile, everyone would just come out of their cold state," memorial sponsor Lynda Billars said.
Lynda Billars had a few encounters with Eagle Tail while he was working at The Original Pancake House and says his positive spirit was contagious. Billars is now on a mission to honor both Eagle Tail and Wallace for their selfless acts at Falls Park.
"They'll each have their own individual plaques. They'll be placed in that quartz stone, with a special saying that is OK'd by their families. So it'll be there forever for people to remember," Billars said.
While the City Parks board still needs to vote on the idea before it can go on to the City Council, Billars has already received a lot of support over Facebook and has several calls offering assistance. Billars believes this memorial is more than just remembering those who died.
"What I have in mind is I want to keep these two alive. And a way to do that is to get it out there for everyone to see," Billars said.
Billars says it's heroes like these two who should be remembered for years to come.
"The true heroes are not the movie stars and the celebrities. The true heroes of America should be these individuals, for doing something like this," Billars said.
We spoke to the director of the Parks Department, Don Kearney, and he says they do not have a date set for the board to discuss the memorial proposal.
If the idea does pass the board, they will propose it to the city council. He says in total, it could take 60 to 90 days for something to be put up if there are no issues.
© 2013 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.