Jeremy Carpenter, a former Sleepy Eye police officer, has been gone for a decade, killed in a motorcycle accident when he was just 24. So the 1997 Mountain Iron-Buhl (MI-B) graduate would be very proud that his memory lives on as fellow students prepare to dedicate Wolf park in Wolf, Minn., in his honor. A ceremony was held Friday, Aug. 9, at the Wolf baseball field.
It started with best friends Amy Pelkey Buffetta and Laura Pulford Petersen and their husbands, Willie Buffetta and Paul Petersen. Willie Buffetta had been Carpenter’s best friend and lifelong neighbor, Petersen a classmate and teammate.
Over the years since Carpenter died they have given scholarships in Carpenter’s name, but they wanted to do more to honor their friend, a police officer in Sleepy Eye at the time of his death.
Each year when they present the scholarship to an MI-B graduate these words are read at the presentation ceremony: “It is rare that one person can touch so many lives in such a lasting way as Jeremy Carpenter did... He had a profound commitment of bettering the lives of all the individuals he met throughout his life: through family, friends and his dedicated career of being a police officer.”
The group set out to accomplish this ball field idea by working with the city of Mountain Iron to see which fields were available and what the process was to name a field in someone’s honor. Wolf field is where Jeremy spent much of his childhood as he was a lifelong Wolf resident.
Carpenter was the son of Eugene and Val Carpenter, of Wolf; a brother to Zach Carpenter; and father to Austen Carpenter, who was born after Carpenter died. Born in 1979, he died Oct. 9, 2003. He had been an organ donor.
Carpenter graduated from Mesabi Community College in 1999 and Bemidji State University in criminal justice and sociology in 2001. He interned with the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Department, served as an officer with the Chisholm and Virginia police departments before going to Sleepy Eye. He had been a Minnesota First Responder and mentor to the developmentally disabled adults and youth of the Virginia area and coach for the Special Olympics ski team. He coached many Legion, VFW and Babe Ruth baseball teams, was an umpire, taught Sunday school and volunteered with the Summer Sidewalk Club at church. He lettered in three high school sports and continued to play baseball in college. He was a confirmed member of the Messiah Lutheran Church in Mountain Iron.