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Parkston holds vigil for sick child

PARKSTON -- Unlike his father, Landon Bueber has never fought a fire or taken EMT training. But to the people of Parkston, he's still a hero. "He's never once complained," said Corrinna Wagner. "You just kind of have to take that to heart." The 7...

Landon Bueber
Landon Bueber

PARKSTON -- Unlike his father, Landon Bueber has never fought a fire or taken EMT training. But to the people of Parkston, he's still a hero.

"He's never once complained," said Corrinna Wagner. "You just kind of have to take that to heart."

The 7-year-old had a liver transplant, but then, according to family members, was diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Wagner said she doesn't understand the particulars, she just knows that his numbers are "not good," and Landon wants to come home. She said he'll be in "compassionate care," which is similar to hospice.

Wagner, who is an EMT with Landon's dad, Jon, and used to work with Kristie, Landon's mom, said that's why the community joined together for Thursday night's candlelight vigil in the Parkston fire hall.

"The outpouring of compassion and thoughts and prayers for the family has been outstanding," Wagner said.

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Wagner said along with contributions from firefighters, EMTs and city officials, area businesses donated refreshments, and local elementary students made up sacks to put tea lights in for the Bueber family to keep.

"It's been a collaborative effort," Wagner said.

It all started with a Facebook post, Wagner said, when people in the community got the word that the family, now at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, is bringing Landon home because the doctors said there's nothing else that can be done.

Rather than have community members light candles individually, as was originally suggested, Wagner and others thought perhaps it should be a community event. Wagner said the Buebers plan to return home to Parkston today, weather permitting.

Wagner's own 7-year-old son died in 1999 in a car crash, which is partly why she wanted to help with this event.

"I know it's very hard, and I guess the thing that helped get me through was the city of Parkston coming together to help me," she said. "We think our children are going to outlive us, and when that doesn't happen, the 'why?' question always pops up. ... Sometimes it helps to talk about it."

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