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Minnesota Community Hall Of Fame

 

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Brock Lesnar, UFC Heavyweight Champion, Alexandria, Minnesota. Winning Athlete: Not only is his domination at the highest level of Mixed Martial Arts as impressive as his 6 foot 3 inch, 265 pound chiseled physique, but there is the story not many people know that truly defines this champ. After a 2000 NCAA Division 1 wrestling championship, Brock entered into a multi-million dollar contract with Vince McMahon’s WWE. It soon became apparent that his mult-million dollar contract came with some drug and alcohol fine print. Lesnar was spiraling down a road of vodka and pain pills which almost ended his life. His story does, however, have a happy ending. He is now living a lifestyle completely opposite to his WWE past; the Champ has simplified his life and proved that the best things in life really are free. By Philip Meinert 

Mr. Dean, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Winning Benefactor: It is the story of a man we call “Mr. Dean” who was a heroin addict for 40 years before he changed his whole life around and now works in sober houses around the city (for free) trying to help young men and women get their lives back on track. His story is an amazing one. By Felicia Kelly

Jim, Minneapolis Minnesota. Winner against the Odds: “Jim” was brought up in a very distrubing household and suffered intense physical and emotional abuse.  Despite this he stayed positive and benovolent to one and all. As life went on, the grind of childhood took its toll and in his 20′s he found himself consumed in dibilitating anxiety, deep dark depression and a world of lack, loneliness and fear.  He often felt like “a total waste of flesh”. Then life got harder. He lost his son, his wife had an affair, and his best and only friend died. For seven long years he suffered in another deep state of depression and for 3 years didn’t go outside except to get mail. Then, one day, he made a decision.  Inspired by the movie, Shawshank Redemption he decided to get busy livin’. He faced his fears and courageously did something he knew he was good at, yet due to fear, had given up. He then went on to start and run several successful businesses, wrote several awesome and inspiring books, and helped many other people also face their fears, uncover their purpose and find their inspiration.  By Chris Lembeck

Julie Crandall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, Winning Heatlth Technician: Manager of the Twin City Animal Blood Bank (for animals). Her foresight and initiative brought this valuable resource to the Twin Cities community in 2003 and, as a result, the lives of animals have been extended, improved or saved. The clinic has continued to grow and now is included as an integral part of the University of Minnesota’s Veterinary Hospital. Today the U of M’s blood donor program is nationally known. By Jan Alan

Michael Laven, Minneapolis Minnesota. Winners Against the Odds: We just lost my husband’s brother last Thanksgiving to paraplegic issues that the doctors could not fix. The amazing aspect was that Michael (my brother in law) was paralyzed in a car accident at the age of 17 and was very close to not making it. His life up to that time was pot, beer and who gives a damn. His life after his injury is worthy of accolades from near and far. He went to school and got his college degree, he also got a pilot’s license and he played wheelchair hockey, basketball and baseball (as the MN Twins Rolling Team). He also went to area hospitals and to rehabilitation centers to talk with those who had been recently paralyzed and felt like their lives were over. He had over 500 people at his funeral and the real MN Twins held a benefit so they would have the funds to keep the wheelchair park where Mike and his buddies played ball, open. He also donated his body to the U of MN Science, a decision he made when he was only 18. By Karen Laven

Ray Corradi, Virginia, Minnesota. Winning Senior: My uncle is a living testament to ‘mind over matter’. At 84 years of age, he is still an avid outdoorsman with a love for deer hunting and a passion for golf. Ray outwalks all of us younger hunters, covering as much as ten miles per day. He has also recorded five ‘holes-in-one’ over his amateur golf days, the last one during league play at age 81. To him, age doesn’t matter and he doesn’t mind proving it. He is an inspiration to all ages! By Tom Kautto