ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — As the Wetterling family grieves in private, family friends and those working for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center want to make sure Jacob’s memory lives on in the mission of helping other children.
Alison Feigh of St. Paul was a middle school classmate of Jacob’s.
Feigh now works as program manager for the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center which helps protect children from abuse.
Feigh wants the world to know the Wetterling family is not grieving the loss of a child 27 years ago, but the loss of a child in the last week.
“They’re in deep grief and I know at the same time they’re feeling the support,” Feigh said.
Learning Jacob is gone started a new grieving process for those who were closest to him, according to Feigh.
“It is different every day and right now I’m angry,” Feigh said. “I’m angry because this shouldn’t happen, this should never happen to kids, this should never happen. And with Patty and Jerry [Wetterling] as mentors for most of my life, the idea of when you’re mad it’s not about anything other than what do we build.”
With more answers surrounding Jacob’s disappearance coming into focus this week, Feigh wants to make sure Jacob’s legacy remains one of helping others.
That is the mission his parents so tirelessly work toward.
“We need to build a world worthy of its kids,” Feigh said. “He took Jacob away from us. In this moment we’re not going to let him take anything else, and that has been Patty’s message.”
Feigh said no matter how much darkness the Wetterlings faced, they never lost sight of the light in the world and they still will not.
“They know that laughter is important and that’s always been a value. He was a fun kid who liked to laugh,” Feigh said. “We learned early on that his spirit lives on through what we do for other people and that won’t go anywhere.”
The Wetterling family has asked for privacy to be able to grieve the loss of their son.
Jacob’s mother Patty Wetterling has posted some messages online to all the people supporting their family during this difficult time.
On Monday, she posted a message that reads, “Everyone wants to know what they can do to help us. Say a prayer. Light a candle. Be with friends. Play with your children. Giggle. Hold Hands. Eat ice cream. Create joy. Help your neighbor. That is what will bring me comfort today.”