Stronger than before

Sue Holzbauer was thrilled to directly give her donation to Leah DeVries. The Thursday, Nov. 1 event raised over $13,000 for Jacob Petermann and his family. A Wahpeton High School junior, Petermann underwent chemotherapy and a partial amputation following a cancer diagnosis in January.

Twin Towns Area residents were once again keeping it “PeteyStrong” Thursday, Nov. 1 in Wahpeton.

Over $13,000 was raised in a drive-thru donation event in the parking lot of St. John’s Catholic Church. More than 300 vehicles are estimated as participating in the event. It was designed to be a complication-free way of donating to Jacob Petermann and his family.

“I don’t even know the words,” said Connie Peterman, his mother. I’m overwhelmed, humbled — it’s just insane the level of generosity this community can show in even just a three-hour event. This is beyond what I thought was possible.”

Jacob Petermann, a junior at Wahpeton High School, was diagnosed with cancer in January 2018. A broken femur led to the diagnosis of a cancerous tumor in his leg. He subsequently underwent chemotherapy and a partial amputaation.

Drive Thru Donations was a huge success, organizer Heather Nelson Weber said on Facebook.

“We are so proud to be a part of this community,” she continued.

In addition to the hundreds of vehicles, numerous residents walked up to donate. The event allowed donors to hand their contributions to participating children. Baked goods were also available for purchase by a free will offering.

“It’s that simple,” Nelson Webber and organizer Mandy Klein stated prior to the event.

For Petermann, the success of Drive Thru Donations is enough to leave her speechless.

“It just goes to show that out of bad comes triple-good,” she continued. “I’ve got tears and am stumbling for my words, but it’s just amazing.”

Drive Thru Donations was organized in light of a recent controversy involving funds raised at a previous benefit.

In June, the Wahpeton Eagles Club hosted “Oh, For Petey’s Sake.” In October, an alleged theft of proceeds became publicly known. 

According to Connie Petermann, proceeds from T-shirts, koozies, sponsorships, bracelets and food haven’t been seen.

“I only know I have been with my son every minute to help him fight on his journey and I will continue fighting until things are right,” she said previously.

The case is still under investigation as of Friday, Nov. 2.

“It is amazing what this community can do when it comes together,” Petermann continued. “Because of this prior situation, there’s sometimes ‘Oh, that’s awful’ and then a feeling of just being left out, alone. But we’re not alone — we’re not alone.”

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