The sign outside Old Chicago in Bettendorf does not advertise a beer special or a new menu item. Instead it reads – “Leah, you are forever in our hearts.”
Leah Manche was a server at Old Chicago for several years. On Monday, December 10th, the 28-year-old lost her life when she lost control of her car and plunged into the Mississippi River.
On Tuesday, December 18th, her co-workers will give all their tips and any extra donations from customers to Leah’s family, specifically her 11-year-old daughter, Brianna. Employees have a similar event happening all day on Thursday, December 20th.
“I don’t think she realizes it but she impacted a lot of people,” says Nikkole Lawson, who worked with Leah at Old Chicago and says the hard-worker was easy to love by her co-workers and customers.
“I hope she knows how many people loved her,” says another co-worker, Bianca Filgo. “It’s hard when you’re so confused and just kind of in the blur about it and then it hits you little by little every time it’s brought up…”
Those feelings are shared from her work family to her real family, who spent time with WQAD on Monday to tell us about Leah.
“I’ve seen the support that she has,” says Amber Etheridge, Leah’s sister. “People have come out of the woodwork that love my sister and it just shows us that she was an awesome person.”
“She was special,” says Leah’s daughter, Brianna, who celebrates her 12th birthday in early January. “We were more than just a mother-daughter. She was like a best friend to me.”
Leah’s family has also set up a memorial fund at IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union. You can find locations here.