Steve Blue, President of Miller Ingenuity
The Michael S. Florin Memorial Fund
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Michael was born to Scott and Linda (Durnen) Florin June 8, 1979. Michael was an avid outdoorsman who loved to fish, camp and boat. His love of the outdoors led Michael to organize and run several fishing events for the enjoyment of friends and coworkers. Michael loved nothing more than to take friends out in his boat camping and fishing. Mike loved to cook and was a long time employee of KFC Winona.
Michael is survived by his parents; sister, Amanda; grandmother, Beverly Durnen; grandfather, Linn Florin; and numerous aunts and uncles. Michael had a special bond with his nephews, Alex and Dylan; and his niece, Ashley. He was preceded in death by his grandfather, John Durnen; and grandmother, Nona (Carney) Florin.