Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Here We Are Again

Here we are again flashing another photo across your screen that shows smiling faces around a big cardboard check. Ya, ya, Bremer’s at it again, you may be thinking. There’s bound to be a lot of snapshots when a funder awards $30 million in grants in a year over a three-state region. Sure, sure, we talk about The Bremer Story.

But this picture, and all of the pictures like it, are about the community’s story. The story is in the picture.

The City of Minneota stepped up as a fiscal sponsor when Minneota’s American Legion Post 199 and its members sought help to upgrade the Legion Hall/Community Center by making the building accessible and energy efficient. The Legion Commander, who is not a professional grantwriter, took the lead in finding out what it takes to invite the Otto Bremer Foundation for help to support their vision. “Just tell your story,” I said, pointing out the guidelines and outline on the Foundation’s website. I was happy to read a draft, and a second draft, emphasizing that the Foundation wants to know what difference the center makes for the town, who cares about this vision, and who else is rolling up their sleeves or pulling out their checkbooks to help. Well, from that first draft in February they finished the story, mailed it in and on this August morning took a moment to celebrate a grant award.

The partnerships represented in the check photo are a big part of this story.

There they are – The Legion members (Commander James Fink is holding the check on the right below); City Administrator (Sara Friesen in green jacket); plus the Mayor is in the photo and the Minneota Mascot’s editor and a couple of Bremer Bankers too.

Yes, we like these photos. And we love the stories they tell about small town initiative, vision and hope!

Lois Schmidt, NRS, Willmar

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