WOOD RIVER — Heather Bardsley’s friends and family are planning a benefit to raise funds to continue search efforts for the missing 42-year-old Grafton woman.
A 1992 Roxana graduate, Bardsley has been an employee at King Louie’s Drive-In in Wood River for nearly 25 years.
“She’s (Bardsley) been here such a long time,” King Louie’s owner Chrissy O’Dell said. “She is part of our family. People stop by King Louie’s just to see her. Some of our older customers adore her because she’s been taking care of them, in some cases almost daily, for years. Heather is really missed.”
The Wood River Moose has donated the use of the lodge for the Jan. 30 benefit; both adults and children are welcome. The cost is $25 per person and the benefit includes live music, chicken, beer and tea from 6 p.m. until midnight. Baskets donated by businesses and individuals will be raffled off the night of the benefit.
Proceeds will go to the cost of continued private searches for Bardsley, any potential funeral costs and the remainder will be set up in trust for her 13-year-old daughter, Abbey.
“We feel like we’ve been left on our own in the search for Heather,” O’Dell said. “The family has been doing a lot of searching on their own time and with their own money. We know we will never really know what happened to her that night unless we find her. Her family needs all the help they can get.”
Anyone unable to attend the benefit but who would still like to make a monetary gift for the Bardsley family or a raffle basket for the benefit may drop off donations at King Louie’s, 315 S. Sixth St. in Wood River, on or before Jan. 29.
“Heather was such a nice person and had many friends,” Roxana alumni Jennifer Stamper said. “It’s still hard to grasp that something like this has happened to someone you know and went to school with. She may have lived in Grafton, but she had so many close friends here and was here all the time with work. I can’t imagine what her family and daughter are going through.”
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