Land of 10,000 Stories: Fieros return to Frazee

Tyler and his Fiero

(From Kare11 News, Minneapolis MN)

FRAZEE, Minn. — Airport welcomes take on special significance when the arriving party is a soldier recently back from Iraq.

But when two red Pontiac Fieros pulled to the curb, Sgt. Andrew Wiegle and his wife Stephanie could not have been happier with a pair of stretch limos. “It’s a very good welcome,” smiled Sgt. Weigle. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a best welcome than this.”

Not far from the airport, the two Fieros became four. And by the time the growing convoy passed through St. Cloud, those four Fieros had been joined by 25 more.

“I’m overwhelmed. I’ve never seen this many Fieros in one caravan,” said Weigle from behind the wheel of a borrowed Fiero. “I’ve never seen so many people come together for one cause.”

The cause, launched from Iraq last fall by the National Guard sergeant from Pennsylvania, started with an internet post from Tyler Shipman, a high school senior from Frazee, Minnesota, with a ragged 23-year-old Fiero and just a few months to live.

“I’m trying to find someway to get it restored before I’m gone,” he wrote on a Fiero forum.

Weigle read the post from his base in Iraq and thought to himself, “What if that was my child. What if that was my kid that had cancer. 18 years old is way too young to leave this earth without achieving one of your dreams.”

What happened next is now part of both Frazee and Fiero lore. Urged on by Wiegel online from Iraq, last November, two dozen Fiero owners from across the country descended on Frazee with thousands of dollars in donated parts. 24 hours later Tyler climbed into his newly restored car.

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