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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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American Faces No. 56



Peter Kruse is one of those people you’d call a “maker.” And a successful young entrepreneur. His current enterprise, Delano Bats, began on the baseball field at Delano High School, where Peter decided he wanted to make his own bat. Peter – just a 9th grader at the time – got a lathe and started experimenting. He sold his first hand-turned maple wood bat that next summer.


Seven years later, through Delano Bats Peter makes and sells five different wood bat models online to customers throughout the country, and his small home-town manufacturing operation includes a CNC router system and finishing shop, in addition to those original wood lathes. Already experienced in the demands of business, and what it takes to produce and deliver a high-quality product, Peter continues to carve his own path to success, studying manufacturing engineering at Saint Cloud State University as he experiments with new designs and materials, looking for ways to improve his product. When we asked what’s next, Peter told us he’s developed a prototype (patent pending) for a lighter, harder-hitting wood bat. With a passion for craftsmanship, and a head for business, Peter’s well on his way to a home-run career.

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American Faces No. 55


I think we could all use a little hope right now. Al Sannerud is just the man who helps do that. His property in Ham Lake is where hundreds of bikes are rescued and worked on by a multitude of people who call themselves Bikes 4 Kids. The sea of bikes is awe inspiring but more than that are the hearts of Al and the people at Bikes 4 Kids. Bikes are donated to Bikes 4 Kids through various means, then mechanics ensure safety and working order, and finally the bikes find a new home with a child or adult in need. I found my way to Bikes 4 Kids when my church was invited to help pick up and then distribute 60+ bikes to local residents through Dayton Mobile Hope.

But this story is not about me or the church I attend. It is about a 96 year old man who is so proud and so excited to see these bikes going to kids, families, and people in countries all around the world. Al has a passion for people that shows when he talks about the bikes and how the organization has grown on his property. He drove me around on his golf cart with a smile on his face as he spoke of the joy of giving bikes to their new riders. His smile and love for his fellow human seems to be in each word he speaks as he describes what happens in each area where Bikes 4 Kids is headquartered.


While I know this is a long way from what is going on in Minneapolis, this organization can be a way to bring joy to the hurting and help provide a means of transportation to those who need it. I encourage each of you to figure out how you can donate or maybe even partner up to help bikes get distributed. You may just change a life!


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