What's Happening

Miller Ingenuity Helps Winona Friendship Fish 'n' Float Program Stay Afloat

Courtesy of Winona Daily News

Miller Ingenuity donated $19,000 toward the revitalization of Winona’s Friendship Fish ‘n’ Float program. The community program provides a free cruising or fishing experience on the Mississippi River to seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals as well as a youth education program centered around fishing.

Previously, the program was operated through the “Let’s Go Fishing Minnesota” organization. Local chapters were required to raise funds for all expenses (including a pontoon purchase) with no actual ownership of any assets and were assessed a yearly fee that the Winona Chapter board members deemed excessive. The Winona Chapter of “Let’s Go Fishing Minnesota” ultimately discontinued its five-year relationship with the organization in the spring of 2017 and had to end operations for the remainder of the season.

Through the efforts of the board, Friendship Fish ‘n’ Float is now sponsored by the Winona Friendship Center Activity Council (WFCAC). With Miller Ingenuity’s donation, individual and corporate donations have generated over $45,000, which is enough to cover the cost of a new pontoon boat and operating expenses for the first year.


“We are very happy to have a part in revitalizing this important community program,” said Steve Blue, president and CEO of Miller Ingenuity. “I used to volunteer on the old boat and I was always struck by how much our seniors appreciated the chance to be on the river. I look forward to the re-launch of the program and I know our community does as well!”

“The Friendship Fish ‘n’ Float Program operates under the umbrella of the Friendship Center and is self-sustaining except for an annual donation from the Friendship Center itself,” said Dr. Dave Rowekamp, Chair of the Winona Friendship Center Fish ‘n’ Float Program. “The program depends on the generosity of dedicated volunteers and local donors to keep afloat. We are very grateful to Mr. Blue and Miller Ingenuity for this most generous donation allowing us to begin the 2018 season with a new pontoon. “

The Friendship Fish ‘n’ Float program is expected to re-launch this coming spring.

For more information on how to contribute or volunteer contact: Dr. Dave Rowekamp at rowefam@hbci.com.

Fund Raising

FFnF has raised over $45,000 to kick-off our new venture.

As most of your know, our team decided it was in our clients' best interests to disengage with Let's Go Fishing Minnesota. It was a difficult, but well analyzed decision. Now it looks as if it was a good decision. FFnF is now a program supported by the Winona Friendship Center Activity Council (WFCAC). While FFnF is self-supporting financially, WFCAC provides the organizational and Not-For-Profit pieces of the organization.

Mike Florin Memorial Fund

On October 21st 2016 Mike Florin lost his battle to an agressive form of Lung cancer at the age of 37. To honor and remember Mike and his love of boating, fishing and the outdoors the Mike Florin Memorial Fund chose to support the Friendship Fish and Float Program. The family promoted matching grants of $2,000 in 2017 and $2,000 in 2018. FFnF has already received $4,000 for 2017.

Pontoon Boat

Greetings all,

Willie Hahn and myself traveled to Poskin, WI to assess the status of the new pontoon, take care of seat placement and a few other details. I think the pontoon will be completed within the next 2 weeks. We were very impressed with the pontoon and I feel it is better than the old one. Once completed it will be shrink wrapped and await our pick up to transport to Winona. In Winona it will first go to Rite-Way canvas for the enclosure, and once that is completed and the radio, depth finder etc. installed, we are ready to launch.

So get the sunscreen out, keep room in your summer schedules and be ready to go!

Dave Rowekamp
Committee Chair
Winona Friendship Center Fish and Float Program ( FFnF )

Kick-Off 2018

We are considering a Kick-Off campaign for 2018 to welcome volunteers and demonstrate FFnF plans for 2018. Time, place, and details are to be determined.

Steamboat Days Parade


FFnF is applying to participate in the Steamboat Days Parade in June 2018. We will need volunteers to walk beside and the boat to inform the community of our new presence.