EMS Cares: Fifth-Grader Larsen Winternheimer Builds a Friendship with a Local Store Owner

Ninety-two-year-old Betty Jo Lamar is in the highest risk group for contracting COVID-19, so fifth-grader Larsen Winternheimer has made sure she is looked after during the pandemic.

“We called to check in on Betty Jo when this whole thing started,” says Lara Hicks, Larsen’s mother. “We’d been cooking, and wanted to take her a sample.”

Lamar, who lives a block from the Winternheimer-Hicks family, was thrilled by the thoughtful gesture. “We just kept bringing more,” says Hicks. “I told her that to keep her safe, she shouldn’t let anyone else in. I said, We’ve got this!” And, now every couple of days, the family brings her food. 

They even bought her a phone and taught her to use the app, WhatsApp, so she could stay connected with people. “She doesn’t quite understand that she’s on video, but it’s OK because she can see us,” says Hicks.

Lamar, who owns an antique shop called Tickled Pink Petunia in Guttenberg, and Larsen have a special bond. Every day they video chat and watch Antiques Roadshow together when it’s on TV. “When she has birthday money, she takes it to Tickled Pink Petunia, and when she wants something for Christmas, it’s an antique,” says Hicks. “Betty Jo always tells Larsen she’s known her since she wasn’t and has been teaching her about antiques her whole life. We had to get a separate china cabinet to keep all of her Betty Jo keepsakes.”

Larsen’s father, Dana Winternheimer, taught her to sew and she even made matching face masks for her and Betty Jo. 

“Making Betty Jo's day makes MY day!” says Larsen.

  • Remote Learning/Social Distancing