Herald JournalWinsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Nov. 18, 2002

Bob Fisher: More than just sleeping in a tent

By Ryan Gueningsman

What began as one man sleeping outside in a tent has led to over one million dollars being raised in the fight against homelessness.

Bob Fisher of Wayzata is the son of Amelia and the late John Fisher of Winsted. Six years ago, he spent the nights of almost the whole month of November in a tent on his lawn, sometimes bearing sub-zero temperatures, all to get the word out about homelessness.

"That is just the kind of guy Bob is," said Fisher's mother Amelia. "His father was like that too, always helping people."

The Fishers moved to Winsted in 1968, and Bob was already in the Navy at that time. Following his term with the Navy, he located to Excelsior and opened Bob's Shoe Repair in Wayzata.

Since he began his sleep-out, he has teamed up with Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, a Twin Cities based organization.

"Last year to begin his sleep-out, he was joined by over 500 supporters for a supper of soup, bread, hot chocolate, and water. Boy Scouts kept campfires going to keep everyone warm, and various churches provided song and spirit," explained United States Representative Jim Ramstad into the Congressional Record April 25.

"His well-worn tent and sleeping bag have not only raised badly needed funds to provide housing," Ramstad said, "but his sleep-outs have raised public awareness of the housing shortage and the increasing number of homeless families in our community, state, and nation."

On Thursday, Fisher was awarded the Wayzata Chamber of Commerce's Man of the Year award. His sleep-out began Saturday, and frequently local television stations carry coverage of the event. Fisher was also on WCCO radio last week to further get the word out about his project.

For more information on "Shoe Bob's Sleep-outs," check out his web site at www.bobssleepout.com.

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