Several police unions in New Jersey have rallied to help keep neighborhood favorite Der Wunder Weiner alive. The Jersey Shore hot dog vendor’s future appeared to be in jeopardy after a car plowed through the stand on June 11.
Recently, area officers opened a hot dog stand in the same spot in hopes of raising money for 75-year-old Gerald LaCrosse, the stand’s beloved owner and operator.
LaCrosse and his wife have run the hot dog stand for decades. Residents have marveled at the way La Crosse has managed to keep his small business afloat while large competitors have moved in around him.
“They outlived the Shoprites and all the other stores over here, and I was just amazed that this little weenie wagon could do it,” Ocean Gate resident Richie Petosa told New Jersey 12. “So that’s why we’re here.”
LaCrosse was inside the Wunder Weiner when the collision happened and was seriously injured. When police and first responders found him, he was pinned under heavy equipment and unable to move.
We are on scene of the crash at Wonder Wiener. We are told the owner was air lifted to Jersey Shore but was conscious and talking. Driver was taken by ambulance to Community. @News12NJ pic.twitter.com/QNcKkKxehl
— Jim Murdoch News12NJ (@ReporterJim) June 11, 2018
He had to be airlifted to the hospital in critical condition. The stand itself was destroyed. With no stand and nobody to run it, regular patrons wondered what would happen to their favorite lunch-time haunt.
“It’s an icon. Everybody that has ever [eaten] here can say nothing but good about Jerry and the Wunder Wiener,” Beachwood resident Pat McKenan told New Jersey 12.
Local police unions 237 and 253 decided to open a stand from July 5 to 7, and help the LaCrosse family in the process.
Police lend a hand
The officers don’t claim to be sausage-savants like LaCrosse, but in the first two days of their three-day stint running the stand, they raised $8,000 to help cover Lacrosse’s medical expenses.
“We definitely can’t make the double Italian that’s for sure,” Phil Schena, executive president of the Beachwood-Pine Beach PBA, told New Jersey 101.5.
“We’re just putting the hot dogs on a bun with sauerkraut, chili cheese, and some other condiments, however the donors want to get it.”
LaCrosse has already been sent home from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery. However, there is no telling how long he’ll be out of commission.
In the meantime, the local police unions are doing everything they can to keep him comfortable, and ensure Wunder Weiner is ready to be picked up right where he left off.
“I want Jerry to know that you’re not alone in this fight. We hope to see you soon. Speedy recovery,” Schena told New Jersey 12.
“We want you and your family to rest assured that no matter what happens, the PBAs of 237 and 253 are definitely here to help out with anything you guys need.”
LaCrosse has vowed to reopen Wunder Weiner once he has fully recovered. Only this time, he intends to keep the stand a little further from its conspicuous location near the expressway.
There is a GoFundMe campaign to help recoup some of the losses resulting from the crash. The funds will be used for “business, damage and/or loss of his car, as well as various out of pocket medical expenses.” It’s already raised over $11,500.