I am responding to comments by two gentlemen who saw a Facebook discussion I was part of, and to share what I believe is what they really want to know. And that is: Who is Fred Heidmann?
Well, let me share with you a little about who I am and what I believe.
First off, I believe in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. I believe in the First Amendment giving each of us the God given right to free speech and I fully respect the rights of the two people who shared their viewpoints this last week.
I believe in general that all people are good and deserve respect.
I believe also that within any group of people there can be those who seek to do harm.
Important information I would like the gentlemen to know about me is that I am a giving person and have given to many charities here and abroad. I buy groceries for the elderly. I have been involved in building homes for those who are in need, helping children with eyesight problems, deformed palates, those in need of clothing, supplies and new cabins for camps where kids travel to go to camp in isolated areas, and numerous other things.
I have taught children’s classes at different times in my life and have coached youth baseball. As a coach, at that time, I was the only coach who had a young man of a different skin color on his team. I also co-coached team(s) with a man of another skin color and think highly of both of them yet today.
I also encouraged and supported the only candidate of color who has ever run for councilman in the city of Nisswa.
I gave of my time to build the fireplace in the library at Nisswa Elementary School, which to this day is one of the best children’s libraries in our region (even without the fireplace).
I give of my time to be part of the Miss Nisswa Scholarship Pageant, speaking and then being behind the scenes giving moral support and encouragement to the contestants when pressure, fear and panic, or feelings of embarrassment after having made a mistake in front of the audience bring them running back in tears.
I love people. I love life. I have walked an employee back from the edge of suicide. I have helped another get treatment for addiction, who, to my great surprise, three years later successfully became an addiction counselor.
I have been through the valley of the shadow of difficulty, depression, and have come back stronger and better each time.
I have friends, clients, who are of different skin color than me, and I cherish those relationships.
I have friends, and friends of friends, who live in the burnt-out neighborhood and were close to the rioting, looting and destruction of the recent past in Minneapolis. Those friends and I are proud of the peaceful protesters and are dismayed and angered at others who chose to destroy innocent people's lives.
I believe the police officers who have done horrible things to people should be fired and jailed. Just last month, I walked out of the city council meeting due to my concerns about the hiring practices of our chief of police and the city council in regard to a candidate for sergeant.
I am tired of this looking the other way and pretending there is nothing wrong or in need of change and correction in government.
As a mayor, I have pressed harder for reform and change in the city, far more so than any other mayor or councilman in Nisswa’s history. I challenge the norms and seek to bring the city that is hidden behind the scenes to new levels.
Taking comments out of a group discussion and out of context seems to be the “norm” these days. I pray this is not what is meant by the phrase: “the new normal."
I am always available if anyone wants to sit down for a cup of coffee to hear what they have to share. To date neither party has done so, but I do look forward to having them contact me and getting together.