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American Faces No. 59


When I set out to buy a new refrigerator I did not think that an American Faces story would come out of it. But one did. On October 6th, 2020 a smile that lit up the room made way for a great conversation. As Derek B. spoke about the refrigerators he had in stock, he and I also shared a bit about ourselves. Our lives have been very different from each other, but what connects us is our place in humanity, maybe better said is “our place in the human race”. Derek’s life has had its own twists, turns, and even a few hurdles when he spoke of his earlier years in South Minneapolis, to now the owner of Appliance Express in East St. Paul, MN. This man’s choices and decisions have forged a resolve that were seen and truly felt as I spoke with him.

The wisdom he has gleaned in his 53 years on this globe and in the School of Hard Knocks has taught him to work hard, don’t dwell on the past, and create his own future. He’s had people who have poured into him over the years who have helped mold who he is today and not the man of the past that he once was.

When we wrapped up our time together to create this American Faces, he left me with an awesome nugget of wisdom, "If you change the way you look at things then the things you look at change."

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I’ve known Rose W. for a handful of years. I've seen her and husband, Mitch, help in many different ways at NorthRidge Fellowship over the years. Recently, I saw Rose take a very active role in helping with recent food distributions in Minneapolis and also at a local trailer home park. It was the latter location where I saw her making profound impacts in the lives of others. Rose is bi-lingual, with Spanish as her second language. You could even say it’s her first language. Rose spent her formative years on the West coast and in Mexico. Her multi-cultural upbringing has given her a wonderful gift for communicating with our Hispanic neighbors. Rose has an engaging smile and a warm heart. Her personal journey, while not easy, has developed in her a genuine compassion that is making a profound impact on the people she serves. Rose has a favorite bible verse that she says she tries to live by:


You are amazing, Rose! May each of us follow your example, by making a difference in the lives around us.


  • Nielsen Studios Inc



American Faces No. 57


Sometimes in life you have an opportunity to take a step back in time – a time when craftsmanship, quality products, quality people and a handshake really meant something. Recently, that opportunity was mine when I met the Timms, a family that owns a sawmill in Maple Plain, MN. The Timms welcomed me in like a longtime friend, and happily shared stories of how they create finishing touches in custom homes through wood-crafted pieces and structures they build themselves.

At the Timms’ mill, logs and lumber are stacked all around, surrounded by wonderful piles of sawdust (man glitter, if you will). The Timms’ knowledge of sawmilling goes three generations deep. They truly understand wood. They can actually “read” the wood, and know how to coax the most yield and quality out of each log and timber. It’s an amazing thing to see. And the Timms do it every day. These guys are amazing craftsmen, and have a work ethic like sawyers of yesteryear. I’m so glad I had a chance to step back in time to meet these men and to share a little of their story.

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