December 1, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Wagners give back in a variety of ways

Jim and Jen Wagner like to help people.

They have helped people through the pandemic at their business, Wagner Signs and Graphics. They are currently selling masks and have been open to fulfill online orders and orders for uniforms during the pandemic.

Despite working daily, the Wagners still found time to create a special birthday surprise for a family friend, Brady Johnson.

“Our neighbors and friends from across the street moved back in October, and we have been missing them terribly,” Jen said.

Johnson turned 9 during the stay-at-home order.

When Jen realized Brady’s birthday was coming up and he couldn’t have a party she knew she had to do something.

“I was brainstorming one night in the garage and realized we had leftover fireworks from our family’s annual Fourth of July get together,” she said.

Jen talked to Brady’s parents, Jay and Britney, and made plans to head out to the Johnson’s house on Brady’s birthday.

“We parked next to their field, stayed by our truck, yelled and waved Happy Birthday, and had a little fun,” Jen said.

Britney said the quarantine didn’t stop the family from celebrating Brady’s birthday.

“We just had to be creative,” she said. “We really miss seeing our family and friends, but they all helped us make Brady’s birthday one that he’ll never forget.”

Brady was sent videos, cards, small gifts, banners, signs, and of course, a very special firework celebration.

“It meant so much to us that everyone stepped up to help make this special,” Britney said. “We are blessed to live in a great community that is full of family we love and friends that we cherish. Brady won’t remember the toys that he received throughout the years, but he’ll always remember the experiences. Jim and Jen’s fireworks will be a story that he’ll always be able to share for years to come. It was a perfect birthday and some light for us during this trying time.”

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