There is just something about a small town.

As a photographer in a small town I am witness to many amazing events. The weekend was probably the most touching thing I have been privileged to be a witness to in my 10 year career as a photojournalist for the Isanti-Chisago Star. It was fair week and the pinnacle of summer activities as the entire community gathers to show the best that it has to offer in all things rural America.

There were the usual carnival rides, the beer garden, political booths and a prelude to the foods of the great Minnesota state Fair. For our town it is one of the few times that it comes together in celebration of all things we are.

Being of a certain age, I have become involved in shooting 4-H as my children and grandchildren have become very active in showing in some of the animal shows. For many years the 4-H community ends its event with an auction. The auction brings community businesses out in support of kids that have spent the past year training, preparing, learning about animal behavior, showmanship and more.

This year was exceptional. Sitting amongst the crowd was Amanda Johnson. On March 19 of this year she entered the hospital thinking she had gallbladder issues. What she learned was that she actually had stage 4 Colon cancer that had metastasized into her liver. Shortly after that she began a regiment of chemo and other medications every 14 days .

As the auction continued two girls came out with a green cooler which held a $250.00 cut of beef. Off to the side was a person reading about Amanda's journey. Tears began to well up in most of the eyes of the arena. Bidding wars began as the auctioneers at times struggled to keep up. At one point, the Auctioneers; Lyle and Nate Bostrom along with Steve Smith had to stop and address the patrons about how in all of their years auctioning they were never so emotionally touched. As a quiet observer, I witnessed hands flying, deals being made in remote corners and Amanda and Kieth Johnson struggled to hold back tears. Still the bids kept coming.

At the end three local companies, DW Companies LLC, Alderink Cattle & Commodities, and McCarty Farms pooled their resources together to raise $6,600 dollars in support of this wonderful farm family.

But that was not the end....

The auction continued on, and at the end, the above mentioned companies released the cooler allowing it to be sold again raising another $2,200 from the resale as Special Tools and Rehbein Farms continued the support.

I have never been witness to such an amazing experience.

As a 25 year resident of my community, I learned much about my town that day. Mostly how this community of farmers, 4-H'ers and ordinary people came together in support of a family who had given much to the organization.

As for Amanda, She has a tough road ahead. The odds may be against her as her chance for a cure is small, but she will take those odds and push forward, As long as there is a chance there is hope.

Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.


If you want to help support Amanda and her family by donating please contact:

Robin Gemmill 612-290-6976

Kristi Hass 763-258-4888

Nina Lease 763-301-0717

Chad Torkelson 651-470-5116

Never stop believing in HOPE because MIRACLES happen everyday.