KEEPING  HOPE  ALIVE

Join us on Thursday, October 7th at 7:00pm for an unforgettable speaking event featuring Patty Wetterling on "Keeping Hope Alive". This event is free and open to the public. 


If you have any questions, please contact Emily Combs at

ecombs@stjohns-annandale.org or call the church office.

About Patty Wetterling

Patty Wetterling is a nationally recognized speaker and educator on the issues of child abduction and sexual exploitation. In 1990, she co-founded the Jacob Wetterling Resource Center with her husband, Jerry, three months after their 11-year-old son, Jacob, was abducted by a masked gunman near their home in St. Joseph, Minnesota. In the decades since, Patty’s relentless search for her son has led her to become a visionary of hope, a catalyst for change, and an inspiration to parents everywhere.


On September 1, 2016, nearly twenty-seven years after her son’s kidnapping, answers finally came when a longtime suspect confessed to Jacob’s murder and led investigators to his remains. Throughout her emotional healing process, Patty has continued to fight for the world that Jacob knew and believed in – a world where children can grow up safe and follow their dreams.


Patty is a consultant with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and Fox Valley Technical College. She presents victim impact sessions to law enforcement officers at AMBER and long-term missing training programs across the country and is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences related to crimes against children and child sexual abuse.


Patty was instrumental in the passage of the “Jacob Wetterling Act” of 1994 which established the nation’s first sex offender registry. Her lobbying efforts also helped establish Minnesota’s statewide AMBER alert plan in 2002.

For decades, Patty has also been a key leader for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), appointed to the Board of Directors in 1992, and served as NCMEC’s first female Chair of the Board from 2012-2015.

Other career highlights include:

  • Co-creator of the #11forJacob movement
  • Director of Sexual Violence Prevention, Minnesota Department of Health, 2007-2015
  • Co-founder and past director of Team HOPE, a national support group for families of missing children
  • Founding member and past president of the Association of Missing and Exploited Children’s Organizations (AMECO)
  • Co-author of When Your Child is Missing: A Family Survival Guide, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), May 1998
  • Co-author of Perspectives on Missing Persons Cases, Carolina Academic Press, August 20, 2015
  • Named one of the “100 Most Influential Minnesotans of the Century” by the Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • Recipient of KARE-11 TV’s “Eleven Who Care” Award (Minneapolis NBC affiliate)
  • Recipient of the Governor’s “Leadership Award for Unique Acts of Kindness”
  • Recipient of several honors from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, including the “10th Anniversary Award,” “Rainbow Award” and “Vision Award.”
  • Prior to her son’s kidnapping, Patty was a stay-at-home mom, PTA president, youth soccer coach, and former secondary math teacher.