MNUFC was built around a clear set of core values: resilience, inclusivity, dedication, passion, teamwork and respect. At every home match, the L’Etoile Du Nord (Star of the North) is presented at halftime to a community member who is actively embodying these values. We believe that by highlighting people who are making a positive difference in the area, we can help bolster their efforts and inspire more people to act in kind.
Past Award Recipients
Brenna Depies, Nathan Berglund and Aalynna Laroque
Brenna Depies, Nathan Berglund (of the Oglala Lakota and Northern Cheyenne tribe), Aalynna Laroque (on behalf of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe) of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force helped us properly honor the native community here in the Twin Cities on Indigenous Peoples’ Day last season. Depies serves as the youth programs manager for IPTF, leading a team that provides prevention education around commercial tobacco, as well as the ugly truth about drugs and alcohol, to native teens. Their programming focuses on balancing all four parts of self: physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental health. IPTF additionally celebrates their cultures by developing young artists through training in theater and the arts to reach an audience of more than 10,000 people across Indian country, Minnesota, and the Twin Cities.
Date Honored: October 9, 2022
Netherlands-native Ray Kennedy has spent the past 23 years as a lead volunteer with Special Olympics Minnesota. Upon moving to the states, Ray enlisted in the Minnesota Air National Guard, spending 29 years in the U.S. Air Force as Command Chief Master Sergeant. Ray has been serving as the head coach for our own Minnesota United-Special Olympics Minnesota’s Unified soccer team the past three seasons. In 2022, he was selected by Major League Soccer as the head coach of the West team for the Unified All-Star game at the National Sports Center. His charisma and dedication to both his players and his community have made him a favorite of many Special Olympics Minnesota participants.
Date Honored: August 20, 2022
As a current Team U.S.A. and Minnesota Shockwave Power Soccer athlete, Pete Winslow has been a major advocate for power soccer not only in Minnesota, but nationwide. He is a back-to-back national champion in the top premier conference of the United States Power Soccer Association, and a three-time champion overall. A member of the U.S. National Power Soccer team, Pete is additionally a two-time world cup champion. Most recently, the team has been officially inducted into the U.S. Soccer Federation as one of their extended national teams!
Date Honored: August 27, 2022
Txongpao Lee and Dr. Mark Pfeiefer
Txongpao Lee and Dr. Mark Pfeifer helped us honor the Hmong Cultural Center. This organization celebrates and nourishes Hmong culture by teaching music, dance and ceremonial arts. They provide free English classes, computer training and citizenship classes to new immigrants and refugees. The HCC mission is to promote the personal development of children, youth and adults through education while providing resources that enhance cross-cultural awareness between Hmong and non-Hmong communities. Additionally, they play host to the Hmong Resource Center Library – the most comprehensive collection of Hmong literature in North America.
Date Honored: May 18, 2022
Monica Bryand is Executive Co-Director of Voices for Racial Justice, a team focusing on nurturing an ecosystem of restorative racial justice movements. Additionally, Monica is the founder of the Urban Bird Collective – a safe space for Black, Indigenous, people of color and the LGBTQ+ communities in order to reap the benefits of being out in nature through building birdwatching skills. They are active stewards of the environment that protect habitats for not only the birds, but for all living things. Over the past 15 years, Monica has also been active on boards of LGBTQ+ organizations like Out-Front Minnesota, District 202, The Workplace Alliance, and Amaze.
Date Honored: July 30, 2022
On World Autism Awareness Day, Ashley Bettis-Carl helped us to highlight Fraser – Minnesota’s largest and most experienced provider of autism and childhood mental health services. Ashley and Jeremey Carl are the mother and father of two Fraser clients, twins Brooks and Brayden. The Carl’s are not only clients themselves, they also spend their free time fundraising to help other Fraser families and raise awareness for the community. They raised $18,000 last year alone. Two years ago, Brayden was completely nonverbal. Today he is able to communicate with his family, and the twins are thriving in first grade, both socially and academically.
Date Honored: April 2, 2022