A couple of months ago I sat across a table from an out-of-towner with a familiar last name and had a conversation about “home.”

That person was Benya Kraus (notice the incorrect spelling of her last name), and she was in town to talk about a project about which she is very passionate. That project is called Lead For Minnesota.

The morning visit we had was not my first encounter with her, as I was initially introduced to her by Rick Ellingworth as he was offering her a tour of Redwood Valley schools and the new Estebo Career Development and Training Center.

I was interviewing a teacher at the time. We stopped for a moment and learned a little bit about what she was doing and the vision of the program, which grew out of another larger movement Benya was instrumental in co-founding known as Lead For America.

The basic premise of Lead For Minnesota is getting young adults to be more involved in their community and to use the talents they have to address some of the challenges. They do that by offering a training program that helps those young leaders hone their skills and learn more about how to best utilize what they can offer to the community where they live, work and recreate.

This sounds like a great program, and I would encourage anyone who has an interest in getting involved in helping to make their community better to learn more about it.

Also, if you have an idea of someone who you think would be a good fit for Lead For Minnesota, there is also an option of nominating them.

Anyone who has any inkling of interest in this should visit the Lead For Minnesota Web site at www.leadforminnesota.org.

We as a community have plenty of struggles, just like every other small-town community in the area, but we have been afforded a great opportunity to try and solve some of them and to help the next generation of leaders grow along the way.

This could be a great way for the community, which includes all of Redwood County, including the Lower Sioux Indian Community, to provide a reason for more young people to seriously consider coming home.

While I am not on social media very often, my best half is making up for my deficiency these days, and so she has become a source of information for me.

I actually think she has taken a greater interest in the news than I have.

Anyway, she told me about a fire that happened over in Belview that impacted someone who I have known since I was a kid.

To confirm that information I sent an e-mail to my most reliable source of things going on in Belview – city clerk Lori Ryer.

She did indeed let me know what I had been told was true. She also referred me to the City of Belview Web site where she wrote this: “During the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 9, Kathy Krinke, long-time resident of the Belview community lost her home, garage, car and all belongings due to fire. Thanks to working smoke detectors she was alerted to the fire and was able to escape unharmed with only minutes to spare. Donations are being accepted at Minnwest banks. Please make checks payable to Kathy Krinke Benefit.”

So I want to encourage you to support Kathy if you are able.

In addition, I also want to remind you that if you have not done it for a while you need to check the smoke detectors in your home. In this case, they apparently saved a life.