***The 2016 Truck Raffle is now closed. Please see newer posts for the 2017 Ranger Raffle***
When Carolyn and I first heard of the Heartland Preservation Society via our son, Ben and his association with Mike Burke at their Barndogglers Productions, we were impressed. The mission of the Society is important: To preserve the history of the community through the preservation of historic architecture and through the video documentary of the history of the area. And perhaps more importantly to convey the relevance and the desirability of living in a vibrant rural community to families who are migrating to the area to fulfill the jobs created by the expanding Mayo Clinic. So when the raffle was announced, we cheerfully bought a ticket—and never for a moment thought that we were doing anything but giving a contribution. When Ben called that night and asked if we were sitting down, we were floored.
Many of you may know that rather than accepting the gorgeous Red Silverado we chose to turn it back to the dealer for resale. Why? Well since we sold our house and live in a townhouse, it doesn’t fit into our puny garage. And if there is anything to haul that we can’t fit into our little SUV, we are at an age where we do not want to haul it. However, when we went to Lewiston Auto to sign the papers, Carolyn and I looked at the pickup and asked ourselves, “Is there any way we can fit it in?” Well, no. But the Silverado is at Lewiston Auto, and because of the circumstances, it is a rare bargain.
I grew up in a small town, Cottonwood, which is a hundred miles or so west of Lewiston. My great-grandfather homesteaded there and my grandfather and father were businessmen in the community. (My Dad was the IH dealer). There are similarities between Cottonwood and Lewiston. Both have industry, both rely on agri-business, both have strong school systems, and both are very much in the orbit of larger commercial and employment centers—Lewiston being equidistant from Rochester and Winona and Cottonwood a suburb (sort of) of Marshall. Our son, Ben, although he grew up for his first decade in Downtown Minneapolis and for the rest of his youth in Apple Valley, developed a strong empathy for rural Minnesota because of his frequent visits to Grandma and Grandpa in Cottonwood. I think that understanding shows in his videos of Plainview and of Lewiston.
Small town America is the last repository of the founding values of the United States of America. It understands and honors the history of those who have come before—and their sacrifices. It understands and respects the value of the individual. It understands the value of a community coming together for action. And it is the place where the unapologetic expression of Faith and Patriotism is valued and is not considered “ironic”. The hope for America’s future rests squarely on these truths migrating back into urban America.
Carolyn and I are in a position where we will be able to donate some of the proceeds of the sale of the winning truck back to the Heartland Preservation Society. We are honored to do so.