Remembering a father, son who died in Wisconsin River

Family and friends are mourning the loss of a young father and son who died one week ago in the Wisconsin River. Despite family members’ grief, they are also hoping their tragedy will prevent other families from having to go through the same pain.

Elliot McKenna died trying to save his son after a sandbar gave way.

“They are together, now and they both tried really hard to stay but I think in the end they knew they were OK because they had each other,” said Elliot’s mother, Kay McKenna.

“It’s more dangerous than driving a car. That river is so unpredictable,” said Elliot’s father, Jimmy McKenna.

Now family members are left with the memories of two of their favorite boys gone too soon.

“Elliot was a bigger-than-life personality. He was not afraid to do anything or be there for anyone. He was a very local friend, you called him up you needed something and he was there,” Kay said.

“He was a go-getter all of his life. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do. He would accept every challenge,” Jimmy said.

As for his youngest son, 5-year Andrew with dreams of becoming a farmer.

“Oh gosh. Andrew, he was a sassy little thing. He was a cuddler, he was sweetheart. His freckles were so cute. He was such a beautiful smile,” said Kay.

“He was all about the farm and he was a little boy, he loved to play he was rambunctious and full of life,” Andrew’s great uncle Matt Jesse said.

It’s his personality that family and friends like Andrew’s cousin Hannah Standiford will remember the most

“He was just a really sweet and loving little boy and he had an attitude just real sassy,” she said.

But for the father and son, with matching personalities.

“Elliot and Andrew were allot alike both go getters no challenge that they wouldn’t take,” Jimmy said.

It’s not only the memories that the family will hold on to.

“The tragedy is that we won’t know. We won’t know who they might have become and we just have the memories and of course that’s never enough,” Jesse said.

But the lesson they want others to take away.

“It’s important to me and our family that people be safe. And remember that you can be an Olympic swimmer and you just don’t know,” Standiford said.