Car club rallying behind owner of Wagner's Drive-in during his cancer battle

Members of the Wag-Niters Car Club are helping the owner of Wagner's Drive-in in his time of need.

For 47 years, Jim Wagner has worked in his family's drive-ins, but now the man who has been there for his community needs his community to be there for him.

"It’s very humbling,” said Wagner. “I don't think of myself as being deserving."

About a year ago, Wagner was diagnosed with skin cancer. Chemotherapy has left him unable to do much of the catering work that makes up much of his business. He's also had to close Wagner's Drive-in in Brooklyn Park on Sundays because of his health and lack of help. 

"I need to a day to recover,” he said. “I need a day. This got to be too much."

"It took our breath away really,” said Jim Mika of Wag-Niters Car Club. “He's not the kind of guy you think it's going to happen to."

The Wag-Niters Car Club, which has been meeting at the drive-in on Monday nights for the last 15 years, got behind the wheel of a benefit for Wagner to help him make up some of the 40 percent of business he's lost because of his illness.

“The guy steps up to help everybody else,” said Bob Malarkey of Wag-Niters Car Club. “Fundraisiers... he doesn't ask for anything. He supplies the food, gets his contacts to supply the food. This time, he needs it."

Wagner has fed everyone from patients and staff at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital on holidays to military families being deployed - free of charge. Now the car club is giving his spirits a lift the only way they know how.

“It's amazing,” said Wagner. “It’s overwhelming, the support. I don't know if I can ever comprehend or understand the compassion being shown to me."

The benefit will be on October 27 at the Palmer Lake VFW in Brooklyn Park. The Wag-Niters hope the money raised will help Wagner make it through the slow time of the year - winter. For more information, click here.