News Release

Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Western Technical College project management students successfully raised more than $10,000 for the Remembering Jesse Parker charity – enough to build a well in an impoverished community in Uganda.

The fundraising project is an annual requirement for the class of Marketing and Business Management program students. The class divides into groups that plan and execute fundraising events for charities of their choice. Activities included a bowling/Texas Hold ’Em tournament, a Cornhole tournament, a pie-throwing fundraiser that offered the chance to pitch a pie at La Crosse Mayor Matt Harter, and an Educational Walk that allowed participants to experience what it’s like for Ugandan families to carry 40 pounds of water in a jerry can.

In addition to the events, students approached local businesses and organizations for donations. The Downtown La Crosse and Tomah Rotary Clubs, through an international grant, plan to match the donation if the students could raise $5,000. Don and Roxanne Weber donated the final $800 to make that goal, and companies, like Fastenal, gave additional funds after of that.

“In past years, we have raised an average of $1,000 for non-profit groups, which is very good considering it’s the first time most of them have ever planned fundraising events,” said Shelly Wetzsteon, Marketing instructor at Western. “This year’s class raised an incredible $10,500! This is such a valuable lesson and a great feeling of accomplishment for them. They are responsible for bringing clean water to an entire Ugandan community.”

The Remembering Jesse Parker charity was created in honor of the son of Western Accounting instructor Jenny Parker. Jesse was killed in a 2009 car accident, shortly after graduating from Tomah High School. His goal was to become an engineer and find a way to bring clean water to people all over the world. The family started the charity to fulfill his wishes.

“This is the twelfth well funded in remembrance of Jesse,” said Jenny Parker. “The new well will be placed in Bbumbu, Uganda, a community where my husband and I followed a young girl down on her daily journey to a small trickle of dirty water. This place holds a special place in my heart, and the students share in this connection.”