Local first-responder, Larry Axelson, was one of the first to arrive on the scene.
"Knowing it was someone like Harriet who… jeepers, I've known for 50-40 years…yeah, it's really different when you go to these calls with people you know," Axelson said.
Axelson owns an accounting firm downtown just steps from "Classic Hair Design," the salon Harriet has owned for more than 15 years, where her customers have come to know her as family.
"She really cares about her customers," said Sue Windhorst. "She asks how you're doing and that's kind of neat."
People say helping others in their time of need is what Harriet does best.
"She tries to get you in and fit you in between appointments if you want something really quickly done," said Karen Singer.
When the time came for others to help her, Wanamingo began rallying for Harriet. It began almost immediately with her employees filling in at the salon, taking over her appointments. Then, came the support from a local church and other friends who installed a ramp in the front of her house to make it easier for when she returned home from Zumbrota Nursing Home. Harriet was released from the nursing home three weeks ago. After two months of therapy, her goal was to come home.
It's been a long journey for the 60-year-old salon owner, who spent nine days at Saint Marys Hospital in Rochester and underwent major surgery to repair her shattered pelvis and other injuries. She described the ordeal as physically exhausting and depressing, but said she was there for one reason.
"To heal. And it's something you can't do at home. It's pretty hard to do," said Harriet Peterson. "[It's] Very good to be home."
Now that Harriet's home, she's focusing on learning how to walk again, without the support of a walker. The spry grandmother of six said she has no intention of slowing down.
"The doctor's have put me on retirement, I just went "no, can't do that," Peterson said.
As Harriet's medical and therapy bills began piling up, the town threw a barbeque in December that raised thousands of dollars.
"All the prayers and just coming to visit was great--just thinking of me was good, too," Peterson said.
It's part of the spirit of Wanamingo.
"It's such a close-knit community that, I feel, whenever there is a call for volunteers or a call to help someone out they're always eager to jump in and help," said Ryan Holmes, Mayor of Wanamingo.
Friends and employees of "Classic Hair Design" will be holding a second benefit for Harriet on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 4-8 p.m. at New Life Church in Wanamingo.
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