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til Wisconsin’s Safer at Home ….

til Wisconsin’s Safer at Home …. til Wisconsin’s Safer at Home ….

til Wisconsin’s Safer at Home was struck down by the state Supreme Court on May 13. With nothing standing in the way after that decision, Nelson said it was a hectic last half of May getting things finalized.

“It was a difficult time to try to finalize things when you didn’t know if you could have the tournament or not,” Nelson said. “Once we had the green light, it was all hands on deck for about two weeks there. That’s when Zach’s family and Justine’s family really stepped up to the plate to make sure this thing was run smoothly.

“I was literally sitting at work in Weston at the fire department and somebody said hey, ‘Safer at Home is over,’” he added. “For the next two hours I was on the phone trying to get stuff figured out with Mikel. Immediately it was foot on the gas pedal as soon as we found out that Supreme Court thing had happened. It was go time.”

Proceeds from this first tournament will go a long way toward establishing a scholarship in Smola’s name and to “paying it forward” as Nelson said with donations to local charities and to the Eau Claire-based team, which holds its annual Kurt and KC Catt Memorial tournament each August in Mondovi.

“It was just nice because you could see Zach had a positive effect on hundreds of people,” Nelson said. “A lot of people were there to celebrate him and have a good time.

“He was kind of a humble guy,” he added. “He would’ve been a little confused because he wouldn’t have realized how good he was to everybody. He just thought he was another guy having a good time and living his life. That was Zach, just humble and goofy.”