He's speaking in Thief River Falls and Warren, then to junior high students at Crookston High School.
Although he's called Texas home for more than three decades, Crookston native, writer and author Tim Madigan always looks forward to a trip to the northland. Thanks to the success of his book, "I'm Proud of You, My Friendship with Fred Rogers," Madigan has been traveling not just back to Minnesota but all over the country of late.
The book, first published in 2006, had a second edition published earlier this year and, since then, Madigan has upped his travel schedule as he's spoken about his relationship with Fred Rogers, known to previous generations as Mister Rogers. He's delivered his presentation in Florida, Pennsylvania and California, as well as numerous locales in Texas.
Later this week, Madigan will speak about his relationship with Rogers much closer to home, however. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, he'll speak at Grace United Methodist Church in Warren, beginning at 7:30 p.m. It's free and open to everyone. After the speech, he'll sign books at the church.
Then, on Thursday at 10 a.m., he'll deliver a similar presentation to seventh and eighth graders at Crookston High School. School leaders have upped their anti-bullying efforts of late, with "Hero" days, Rachel's Challenge and Rachel's Legacy events. "It aligns perfectly with our efforts,” CHS Principal Lon Jorgenson said.
Madigan, a 1976 Crookston Central High School graduate, also writes for the Fort Worth Star Telegram. It was a story assignment in the mid-1990s, to profile the iconic host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, that blossomed from a single interview into a friendship that spurred Madigan to write much more than a newspaper profile.
"It's about all the lessons my friendship with Fred has taught me," Madigan told the Times.
A while back, he continued, Grace United Methodist Church Pastor Jeff Gustafson contacted Madigan with an invite to speak at the church the next time he was in the area. With Madigan speaking more and more to younger audiences of late, Thursday's presentation at CHS is a natural fit, he said. (Madigan is also speaking at Lincoln High School in Thief River Falls Tuesday evening.)
"I'm finding that the message seems to resonate just as powerfully with young people," he said.
Still calling Crookston "home," Madigan said it's a place that's sacred to him, with so many close friends still around, and many fond memories. "That, and high school hockey, will always keep me coming back," he said. "And I'm just thrilled to have the opportunity to share Fred's message of hope and humanity with people I care about so much."
The second edition of Madigan's book is available at online booksellers such as Amazon.com, and the new edition includes a new afterword with a scene from Trinity Lutheran Church in Crookston, where Madigan did a series of talks after the first edition was published.