Community members rally for Knigge's Make-A-Wish parade

William Knigge, 16, reacts to his new four-wheeler presented to him by Make-A-Wish on Friday at his home in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Nothing was going to stand in the way of William Knigge getting to see his wish come true Friday evening.

While the COVID-19 virus has altered many planned events over the past month, it didn't stop more than 100 local supporters from forming a parade to help Knigge celebrate the special moment of seeing his dream ATV roll into his driveway.

After battling an ongoing kidney disease, the 16-year-old was granted his wish of owning a four-wheeler equipped with a snowplow thanks to the South Dakota’s Make-A-Wish chapter.

“I was speechless when I saw it,” Knigge said of his new ATV. “I really enjoy the outdoors, and four-wheelers are great for that.”


William Knigge, 16, gets a tutorial from Doug Green, of Big Sioux Powersports, on how use his new four-wheeler presented to him by Make-A-Wish on Friday at his home in Mitchell. (Matt Gade / Republic)

Knigge’s Make-A-Wish celebration was made possible through the sponsorship of Toshiba, which has a toner products manufacturing plant in Mitchell. The parade began at the Mitchell Middle School, where about 50 vehicles representing local businesses, law enforcement and community members made their way past Knigge’s home in western Mitchell.

Squad cars with the Mitchell Police Department, South Dakota Highway Patrol and Davison County Sheriff’s Department, alongside the Mitchell Fire Department’s fire truck were among the vehicles that paraded through the streets of Mitchell, flashing their lights and blaring their horns. As vehicles drove by the Knigge’s home one by one, William’s mother, Angela Knigge, was reduced to tears.

“He has always wanted this type of four-wheeler. He has been through a lot with his health over the years, and this means the world to him,” Angela Knigge said. “With everything going on right now, this is a moment we can all love and enjoy together.”

According to Sue Salter, president and CEO of South Dakota’s Make-A-Wish chapter, more than 2,000 wish events have been postponed this year due to the virus outbreak. Rather than postponing Knigge’s Make-A-Wish celebration, community members found a way to adjust. The four-wheeler with the snow blade attachment was purchased by Make-A-Wish through a partnership with Big Sioux Powersports, of Sioux Falls.

Although the new four-wheeler had William full of excitement, seeing the volume of supporters who participated in the parade was among the biggest highlights of his night.

“It was amazing to see all the people come out for this,” William said.


Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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