The Free Press, Mankato, MN

December 28, 2013

Home Free singers do us proud

The Mankato Free Press

---- — Thumbs up to Home Free, the group founded by Mankato brothers Chris and Adam Rupp, who won the NBC “Sing Off” show that aired last week.

The group beat out a dozen others in the national a cappella competition with flawless performances throughout the competition.

The Rupps grew up singing and performing at Hosanna Lutheran Church in Mankato, where their mother, Cindy, is musical director.

Home Free started in 2000 and had a steady climb since, performing on cruise ships, for professional sports teams, at corporate events and a variety of other venues.

Their win gives them a recording contract and a $100,000 prize — and hopefully a growing success on the national stage.

Man’s empathy highlighted reconciliation

Thumbs up to Jacob Farmer who walked along with Dakota horse riders as they made their annual trek from South Dakota to Mankato to memorialize the 38 Dakota hanged in Mankato on Dec. 26, 1862.

Farmer, 78, a Mankato area farmer, hadn’t been steeped in Dakota history but last year he did some family research on his great-grandfather and found he had served in the military security detail during the hangings and had escorted Dakota prisoners out of Minnesota afterward.

The family history prompted Farmer to join in this year’s event and to walk — the same as the Dakota prisoners had to do when they were banished from the state.

It was a heartwarming gesture that provided deep emotional feelings for Farmer and for the Dakota, who gave him a blanket at Thursday’s ceremony to thank him for his participation.

Donors provide comfort to those in need

Thumbs up to everyone in the region who dropped some money in the Salvation Army kettle or participated in providing a gift to needy children through the Sharing Tree Program, Toys for Tots or other charitable efforts this holiday season.

The Mankato region has always been a generous community of givers, from filling United Way needs every year to donating to special projects like the Southern Minnesota Children’s Museum, the Kiwanis Holiday Lights or the BackPack Food program.

It’s not difficult to find examples of kindness and charity in this region. It’s a kind of pay-it-forward attitude not readily found in many other places. Hundreds of volunteers make these efforts happen and dozens others provide needed leadership in these endeavors.

We’re becoming known for our generosity and community spirit and it’s increasingly obvious and apparent. We can all take a little pride in our success with these efforts.

Editorial Board

Series on homelessness gives encouragement

Thank you to author Robb Murray and to The Free Press for your series of articles on homelessness in Mankato. The choice of subject, research, writing and timing were excellent.

lthough I have always known there is poverty and homelessness in our city, your articles gave me encouragement that our community is, indeed, working to solve the problems. You highlighted some of the organizations that provide hope and help to those families and individuals who are down on their luck.

I am proud of the people of the Mankato area who volunteer and donate to support those efforts. Thank you, too, to those brave people who were willing to share their stories with us.

It’s a real treat to read good news, especially local good news.

Sally Erdahl