MINNEAPOLIS — In a year we desperately needed kindness and hope, both were found in abundance in the Land of 10,000 Stories.
These are the people who inspired us in 2020.
- Darwin Bonn lit up all 72 balconies and patios at his senior apartment complex to honor his Christmas-loving late wife Rose.
- Seven-year-old Addie Fenster shared letters and artwork with her 73-year-old COVID pen pal Gary Melquist.
- Five-year-old Haiden Hildre gave up her “R” engraved bedroom closet door when her family learned of Rudy, the boy who it belonged to in the 1940s. The Hildres surprised Rudy, now 77, the with the wrapped door.
- An elf named “Mr. Little Guy” spent his 25th summer answering notes left in his tree at Lake Harriet, assuring children and adults at a frightening time, “I believe in you.”
- Erika Rucks, a nurse with incurable cancer, is living her best life - helping kids with cancer.
- St. Cloud teacher Mike Mathiason created “Dress for Success” Tuesdays, an opportunity for his fourth graders to wear business attire and become more confident learners.
- WWII veteran Mickey Nelson walked 100 miles the summer of his 100th birthday and raised more than $100,000 for the Salvation Army.
- Woodbury police officer Bryan Wagner cited Sarah Lindgren for shoplifting, recognized a single parent in crisis with an otherwise clean record, then arrived at her home with a squad car loaded with food.
- Neighbors lined the streets cheering as Jason DeShaw completed the cancelled Grandma’s Marathon in 39 laps past his house.
- At 84, two former schoolmates, Vic Martinson and Lowell Petersen, continued their tradition of painted the numbers and lines on the Somerset High School football field, before meeting again to attend the games.
- Master luthier Will Bartruff shared his knowledge of violin making with Ben Milne, a 13-year-old boy, already four years into his apprenticeship.
- In a North Minneapolis corner barbershop, Houston White created a gathering place for conversation and culture, as he mentors the neighborhood’s kids.
- Five-year-old Wynn Radke achieved her goal of visiting 67 waterfalls with her mom, after COVID-19 closed Wynn’s pre-school and furloughed her mom.
- Bob Sportal paid $75 for a beat up ‘57 Chevy pickup, drove it 43 years, then sold it to the grandson of the original owner for $75.
- Larry Backlund finished the job his great grandfather started 127 years earlier, when Larry donated a steeple for the previously steeple-less Lake Eunice Evangelical Free Church.
- Kristina & Michael Landin rented a movie theater marquee, then captured on video a priceless reaction when Kristina’s mother learned she would soon be a grandmother:
- A Rosemount neighborhood found a pup-side to the pandemic: 18 new puppies in a three-block area.
- A dog named Zelda decided she wasn’t keen on her a new adopted home in the suburbs. So, the German Shepherd mix took a winding 97-day walk back to her foster mom in St. Paul.
- Holly Jorgenson has formed a five-year friendship with Greenie, a sunfish at the end of her dock, who swims with Holly and jumps out of the water take foot from her hand.
- A mysterious chicken took up residence on the grave of 16-year-old Aiden Miller a year after his death. Aiden loved animals, especially chickens. His family named the chicken Angel.
- Doug Kafka is the Hudson YMCA’s resident crooner, serenading members during their workouts with songs from the golden age of Frank Sinatra.
- Members of the Twin Cities Model A Ford Club continued their leap year tradition, pulling their antique cars out of winter storage, regardless of weather, for a February 29th ride.
- College student Dylan Dierking parlayed his love for White Bear Lake into a business, delivering food to boats and docks on his Jet Ski. He called his company Foodski.
- Jessica Montenegro took sidewalk chalk to new levels, creating elaborate designs on her driveway that wowed her neighbors.
Revisit your favorite moments from Boyd Huppert’s Land of 10,000 Stories by subscribing to Land of 10,000 Stories: The Complete Collection on YouTube.