Miller Ingenuity helps Winona Friendship Fish ‘n’ Float Program stay afloat


Miller Ingenuity has 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 Let’s Go Fishing Minnesota. 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 spring 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

About Miller Ingenuity

Miller Ingenuity, a manufacturing company based in Winona, is a global supplier of lifesaving, high-technology safety systems and services that surpass rail-safety standards. For more than 65 years, the organization has demonstrated the ability to conceptualize, design, produce and deliver railroad parts that meet the current and emerging needs of the industry. For more information, visit


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