Many of us have meaningful personal experiences with the Mississippi. On October 1, 2020 at Friends of the Mississippi River's first-ever virtual gala, we got to hear a few especially powerful river stories.

Thank you to the 450+ of you who listened to these stories.

Storytellers included: Jim Bear Jacobs, Danny Givens, David, Gwyn, and Sarah. Loren Niemi mentored our storytellers. Miss Shannan Paul was our host. Susan Armington and Jim Hudak created artwork. Thank you to all who contributed.

We listened to stories that deepen and connect the layers of history and presence at Bdote, the confluence.

* * *

We listened to a mother whose family found a sense of place in the river, and a place to grieve the impossible.

* * *

We listened to a musician who toured the Mississippi by canoe to discover not only his muddy roots, but also his true love.

* * *

We listened to a paddler who has never tipped her boat (no matter what her partner claims).

* * *

And we told OUR stories about how we work to change the river, and how it has changed us in turn.

* * *

Artists created river artwork — stories in another form

Susan Armington wove your love letters to the river into a giant painting called "Dreamsongs: the Mississippi Within Us" for our livestream backdrop and for our auction.

Jim Hudak, a photographer, told us he had the same view of the river for 20 years, but it never got old. Here are a few of his favorite sunset photos.

And together, we raised nearly $170,000 for the river.


Our generous sponsors:


Steve & Susan Boren King • Stewart & Lesley Crosby • Chad & Maggie Dayton • Judson Dayton & Shelley Mydra-Dayton • Peter & Mary Gove • Art Kaemmer, M.D. • Julia Olmstead & Paul Helgeson • Thomas Reiter & Sharon Miyamoto • Paul & Mary Reyelts • Karen Sternal & Lowell Pickett • Susan Vento


Frederick & Catherine Asher • Sharon & Terry Avent • Susan & Joel Barker • Ronnie & Roger Brooks • Whitney and Sarah Clark • Page & Jay Cowles • Ellie Crosby • Sara & Sean DeKok • Nancy Gibson & Ron Sternal • Dan Gjelten & Lisa Burke • Peter Goss & Karma Walker • Bud & Carol Hayden • Diane & John Herman • Hokan & Penny Miller • Ford & Catherine Nicholson • Susan Davis Price • Paul Ricker & Liz Robinson • John & Marsha Soucheray • Philip Willkie • Kate Wolford and Ed Reilly • Della & Will Young


Mary Adamski & Lance Ihinger • John Anfinson • Peter Bachman & Janet Rice • Steve Christenson & Lisa Hondros • Judy & Ozzie Enroth • Tessa Enroth & Michael Jones • Perry McGowan & Sheila Smith • Diane & Darryl Sannes • Kathleen Stack • Bob & Sandy Tilsen • Cathy Tobias • Deanna Wiener & Jim Tilsen


Ellen Butler • Leslie Cohan & Todd Norsten • George Dunn & Donna Harris • Daniel Engstrom & Barbara Coffin • Sheila & Tim Gothmann • Ron Kroese & Kimberly Colburn • Phil Riveness • Harry & Ginny Sieben • Michael & Gretchen Sieben

Corporate Support




Native Resource Preservation


Bremer Bank • Kraus-Anderson Insurance

Tom Reiter and Jim Hudak took the photos on this page; the first and fifth videos were produced by: Donnie Koshiol of River Street Creative + Tom Reiter of Afton Films, LLC + Will Stock; Rahn + Co. created our event illustration.