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People Stories

Of all the amazing things that make up our region, the most amazing of all are the people! Of all the things we want to write about, our highest priority is to write about the folks doing creative things. Let us introduce you to just a few of your neighbors in these Greater Mankato Area people stories!

Prayer circle

Gentle Shepherd Ministries: Reaching Those Forgotten

At Gentle Shepherd Ministries, volunteers minister to some of southern Minnesota's forgotten population: seniors and inmates.
Photo by Casey Ek - Hensta piles topppings onto a pizza destined for a pickup order. While he learned the skills of making food over 25 years from mentors, colleagues and through passive observation, Hensta believes customer feedback has been equally important in refining his dishes. He has used that feedback to determine the amount of toppings typical customers want.

A Taste of the Big Apple in Nicollet: Great New York Pizza

Hentsa Tesfai serves up big city taste at his new restaurant, Great New York Pizza, in Nicollet.
Photo from The Mankato Free Press - The Immortal Trio - L-R: Frances Kenney Kirch (Tacy), Maud Hart Lovelace (Betsy), and Marjorie Gerlach Harris (Tib). This photograph was taken outside Lincoln School (now Lincoln Community Center) in October 1961 when the three attended “Betsy-Tacy Days” in Mankato.

A Special Homecoming: Mankato Residents Share Memories of Author Maud Hart Lovelace’s Visit to...

Mankato residents share memories from nearly 60 years ago, when author Maud Hart Lovelace returned to her hometown of Mankato.
Video Game Controller

Leveling Up: MSU’s Varsity Esports Head Coach Jacquie Lamm

MankatoLIFE is excited to welcome our very first professional student writer, Meredith Maxwell! Welcome to the team, Meredith! By Meredith Maxwell Jacquie Lamm is no foreigner...
Photo by Don Lipps - Mankato Area Gymnastics School

Gymnastics for Everyone: Mankato Area Gymnastics School Offers Teachers Specializing in Special Needs Education

The Mankato Area Gymnastics School is working to meet more aspiring gymnasts' needs with two new special education instructors.
American flag on dark concrete with free space. 4th July Veterans or US Independence day.

Serving Their Country: Three Mankato Veterans Reflect on their Time in the Military

On Veterans Day, read the stories of three Mankato veterans who served their country in different ways.
Photo by Cliff Coy - Bear woodcut

Artist of the Month: Photographer Cliff Coy

The Fillin' Station's Artist of the Month for November is Cliff Coy, a local photographer who uses his art to raise awareness for issues close to his heart.
Map of the USA with Minnesota and Mankato highlighted

Community Support: Habiba Rashid Helps Other Refugees Get Settled in Minnesota

From refugee to associate director of the Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services in Mankato, Habiba Rashid helps refugees adjust to a new life.
Photo by Jessi Havemeier - Painting by Kelsie Havemeier

Art Therapy: Young Mankato Artist Uses Creativity to Cope with Brain Surgery Recovery

10-year-old Mankato artist Kelsie Havemeier uses art to help cope as she recovers from brain surgery.
Adult and child

Like Mother, Like Daughter: Two Generations of YMCA Mentors

Joy Wels and Courtney Kranz may be a mother-daughter pair in real life, but they're also fellow "big sisters" in the YMCA's Brother-Sister program.