Bruce’s Legacy fundraising for new equipment to bring closure to drowning victims’ families

Boat used by Bruce's Legacy to help search for missing loved ones who have drowned.
Boat used by Bruce's Legacy to help search for missing loved ones who have drowned.(Daniel Gomez)
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 6:25 PM CST
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BLACK RIVER FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - A small-non profit based out of Jackson County is asking for help in fundraising for new equipment needed for the search and recovery missions of drowning victims.

Bruce’s legacy is trying to raise $40,000 to buy a slide-in camper, something founder Keith Cormican said would make the already difficult missions a little easier.

“The slide-in camper would allow us to be able to pull the boat with our truck. It will give us more freedom to stay there longer, work longer,” said Cormican.

He and his team have been able to give dozens of families of drowning victims in Wisconsin, the United States and even the world closure. In fact, since its start in 2013, they have recovered 45 bodies from lakes, rivers and other large bodies of water.

“We usually get called in on the ones that nobody else can find. When we are successful it gives us a sense of pleasure to be able to give them that last hope and be able to go into that next process of grieving,” said Cormican.

The non-profit is named after his brother Bruce, who was a firefighter that died in a search mission.

In honor of his death, Cormican has gathered resources and even a team to help other families far and wide get the closure to a tragedy that has impacted their lives.

In order to do that, the team with Bruce’s Legacy brings with them equipment, and here in the U.S. for domestic search missions, a boat.

For the past few years, the boat has been transported by Cormican’s motor home, something he said has came with its challenges.

“We found once we got there, a lot of boat ramps we couldn’t unload and load our boat. Because the ramps were not safe for the motor home to do so,” said Cormican.

The slide-in camper would also help out with lodging, something Cormican said would usually be funded by the families of the drowning victims they help.

“[The slide-in camper means] saving family members money for hotels and stuff like that,” said Cormican.

At times, Cormican would even refuse the funding if he knew the families did not have the funding to put him and his team up in a hotel. He said he does his best to not charge people for the search and recovery missions.

Gary George is a volunteer who helps Cormican on the missions, and said the investment is worth it if it makes the difficult missions a little easier.

“It gives the family closure and that’s a good accomplishing feeling. It’s tough, but someone has got to do it,” said George.

Cormican said it is even tougher when the team comes up empty handed, and the families are devasted to have lost their loved ones to a river or lake forever.

To help with raising the money for the equipment, click here.

There is also a way to donate to Bruce’s Legacy for their general operations, click here.