Meeting Tony O at Home Plate!

Meeting Tony O at Home Plate!

HeidiSteveThayerIt felt great to dust myself off, slip into a coat and tie on a Saturday night and attend the 2017 Crescent Cove Home Plate Gala. Both Heidi and I were inspired and just plain grateful to be in attendance for the first time. We were awake late into the night discussing what a heartfelt experience the evening was.

Early in the evening I mentioned to Heidi that even though some of the greatest baseball players ever were mingling amongst us I was not going to interrupt their evening for a photo, an autograph or even a simple handshake. Later, when we were picking up the tickets we won in the silent auction, we saw Tony Oliva just ahead of us and she said, “I have to shake Tony’s hand.”

What started out as approaching him, immediately turned into following after him and eventually unfolded into a bit of a comedy as he would dodge to the left and right just as we got nearby. The man can move faster than I can.

I became so entertained I stopped following Heidi so I could stand still and watch the events unfold. In short order she was across the room from Tony and to my surprise he turned about face and almost walked right into me. I put out my hand, he shook it and I said “Thank you for being here tonight Tony.” When Heidi caught up to me and found out what happened the series of events suddenly became my fault and our tiny, covert operation was declared over.

After a quick visit with Katie we were on our way out when Heidi said she had renewed her confidence. She really wanted to shake Tony’s hand so we turned around and there he was. Each of us shook his hand and we started to head out. I of course, being the family wisenheimer, looked at Heidi and said “He shook my hand twice!” She looked at me and said “that’s only because it wasn’t memorable for him the first time!” We laughed all the way home.

We are so very grateful to be a part of Crescent Cove and Saturday night was a reminder of many things. When I am near this project my view of the world around me anchors to the details in life that are truly important. My good fortunes become crystal clear to me and I am humbled as well as motivated to share with and support those around me as best I know how.

It was comforting and a great privilege to join a group of kind hearted people who share the motivation to give. I suggest the Home Plate Gala represented a room full of people who share the motivation to be human. I felt the energy produced by the supporters of the Crescent Cove mission and I say the power to turn the lights on in Crescent Cove this coming fall is generating. I cannot wait to find out what I can do next.

Your generosity can help Crescent Cove purchase, renovate and operate this long-awaited children’s hospice and place of respit. We are heading for home in the fall of 2017, but need your help to make that possible! Click here to donate:

Building a Hospice for Children and their parents. Reflections on a Visit to Ryan’s House in Phoenix AZ

Building a Hospice for Children and their parents. Reflections on a Visit to Ryan’s House in Phoenix AZ

After hearing about building a hospice for children in Minnesota I decided to jim-rhodesvisit Ryan’s House while in Phoenix. To say I was moved when I walked in the door would be an understatement. I never imagined a facility existed like this for children. As I was walking through the halls and seeing how warm and inviting it was brought tears to my eyes. I kept saying to my wife and our host can you imagine a place like this in Minnesota. We spoke with families and saw how comforted they are under some very stressful circumstances. The rooms are designed in such a way that not only the kids feel comfortable but everything is sized for them. The rooms are decorated to be cheerful and fun. The families have areas for them as well that was very much like being in a home atmosphere.

Words that come to me in seeing Ryan House would be, no stress, safe, comforting, warm,  like being at home, and having helpful friends (staff) around to make sure wonderful care was given not only to children but for the families!

Our children and grandchildren are older now but knowing that children have a special place like Ryan’s House for care along with their families deserves to be a priority for Minnesota and the rest of the country. I am happy to spread the word about Crescent Cove.

–          Jim Rhodes is an Endowments and Pension Director at Minneapolis Portfolio Management Group, LLC (“MPMG”), which provides discretionary investment advisory services to individuals and entities, including Crescent Cove.  The statements provided by Mr. Rhodes are his own and are not those of MPMG nor its principals.


Legislative support for Crescent Cove by Tom Freeman at Faegre, Baker, Daniels LLC

Political news these days is often negative, overtly partisan, and leaves the American pFreeman_Tom (5)ublic thinking that there aren’t success stories in government. While some issues encounter major political obstacles, this wasn’t necessarily the case for Crescent Cove. The network of support for Crescent Cove isn’t partisan, doesn’t break down along demographic lines, and embodies a mission that fulfills an important societal need.

In January of last year, I attended a meeting with my co-workers and heard about Crescent Cove for the first time. When I heard the mission and goals of Crescent Cove, I was left with the same question many of you have, “How does a place like this not exist already in our state?” I was left wondering what my family would do if my nieces or nephew were in this position. The emotions were overwhelming at first. Those emotions of sadness and confusion became a passion for addressing this need.

I have worked in state government for nearly a decade and spent the last three years lobbying for a variety of non-profit organizations, businesses, and trade associations. Working with Crescent Cove is truly a unique experience. Our team at Faegre Baker Daniels spent the past legislative session working with a variety of legislators from both parties, walks of life, and parts of the state. While advocating for any cause, we have to understand the mission, goals, network of allies, potential opponents and legislative solutions available for our client. We were able to use the broad network of allies, compelling message of helping children and families in need, and years of ground work to have considerable success at the Capital last session.

We took a strategic approach in developing relationships with two key legislators 20160330_154753with a background and expertise in Health and Human Services. Both legislators became passionate advocates for our cause. Representative Nick Zerwas, Republican from Elk River, was born with a congenital heart defect and has had 10 open heart surgeries since the early 1990’s. Rep. Zerwas and his family have lived the story of so many children in need of the support Crescent Cove is seeking to provide. Senator John Hoffman, Democrat from Champlin Park, has worked for a company that helps individuals with disabilities find employment. Senator Hoffman also has a family in his district that has been asking for support and help that matches the mission of Crescent Cove. Both legislators took a bipartisan approach to craft legislation that accommodated concerns of various stakeholders, the Minnesota Department of Health, and other legislators. Senator Hoffman and Rep. Zerwas deserve immense praise for their work as they lead the effort to pass the legislation allowing Crescent Cove to be licensed.

This legislation is only step one of our plan. In order for Crescent Cove to continue its mission and build the first residential children’s hospice and respite care home in the Midwest, we need additional action from State government. The next step is to develop a reimbursement model to insure that all children and their families can receive these services. We all understand a philanthropic mission will continue for Crescent Cove into the future, but a reimbursement agreement is needed to serve all children and families. Our team is not waiting for the next legislative session to get to work. We are already working with key members of the Governor’s office and legislators to develop new relationships, grow our network of support, and build on our success from last session.

This next journey will not be without a whole new set of obstacles, challenges, and successes. Advocacy can be emotionally draining at times when there are so many causes to be involved in. But after hearing the stories of families in the Crescent Cove network, it is work that we all can be passionate about. With our collective passion to help families in need of support, we can create a positive story that will break the mold of the traditional partisan news story.


Tom Freeman is a Government Relations Advisor for Faegre Baker Daniels representing clients, including Crescent Cove, before the Minnesota Legislature, state government agencies and local units of government. Prior to joining Faegre Baker Daniels, Freeman worked at the Minnesota House of Representatives managing two legislative committees.

Respite Care is More Important Than You Think

Respite Care is More Important Than You Think

It was like walking into a family reunion. Where the little cousins are running circles playing a game of their own creation, while the bigger kids lounge on couches in the living room focused on their devices, and parents gather in the kitchen over a cup of coffee sharing stories of their children’s challenges and triumphs, just out of earshot of the kids.

But the remarkable thing is that this isn’t a family reunion. In fact, these families have never met before.

It just feels like they have.

Such is the gift of the respite provided by families having the opportunity to get away to Faith’s Lodge, and what is soon to be provided by the forthcoming home in the works from Crescent Cove.

A long weekend at Faith’s Lodge provides time and space for families with children who have medically complex conditions, who often feel out of place with others with all of their routines and equipment and concerns, to feel right at home in the company of others navigating similar challenges. Here, among the peaceful backdrop Nature provides, there is solace, understanding, and companionship on the journey rarely found this easily – or immediately – elsewhere.

“We are realizing what a relief it is to be here, to not have to explain ourselves to anyone because they’re in it, too,” one dad told me. “Not only are we gaining great insight and resources from other families who know what we’re dealing with, we are able to let down and relax with people like us, people who get it.”

I was fortunate to be a visitor at the lodge on this particular weekend, to observe the power of coming together in action for these families sharing the common experience of raising a family in the face of significant medical challenges and life-threatening conditions. While my role there was to provide opportunities for creative self-expression for these children and their families, what I received, was much greater than what I gave.

I received the gift of witnessing the love and the light at the heart of each of these families, despite – or perhaps because of – their challenges. Not only did they welcome me with open arms, it was clear they had welcomed each other warmly, as well.

As we created together, the kids and siblings and parents alike casually shared stories of the challenges and the gifts of their lives and situations. Everyone was included in this impromptu story circle, with each story and storyteller honored with the respect and attention their contribution deserved.

It was magical.

Respite care creates the space for these kinds of interactions to take place. Space away from the distractions of home to make new friends, to rest and rejuvenate, to reconnect as a family, as a couple, and also as individuals. Space to remember what the hard work of caregiving of others is for, what the important work of caregiving of self means to the sustainability of facing daily challenges, and that they’re not alone.

Space to be.

Christy Marek


“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.” ~John Muir


Your donations to Crescent Cove help fund both the building of the forthcoming Crescent Cove home for children’s respite and hospice care, and in the meantime, funding families’ opportunities to benefit from the essential respite provided by visiting Faith’s Lodge.

Want to learn more about whether your family is eligible for a respite visit to Faith’s Lodge? Visit our website: , talk to your primary care provider, or call us (952-426-4711) for more details.