Community Response

Community Response


Along with the immediate support provided by rescue workers and citizens such as Matthew Miller, many members of the community banded together to raise money and support for the victims following the bridge collapse. Many of the charity events listed on this page gave all of the proceeds to Minnesota Helps. Segments of the musical, athletic, and religious communities all provided valuable support to those affected by the bridge collapse.


35W Bridge Collapse 058

Courtesy of Noah Kunin.


I-35W Bridge Collapse

Courtesy of Enrico Fuente.


Both photos are memorials left at the site of the bridge collapse for the victims.



I-35W Bridge Relief Benefit Concert


Immediately after the bridge fell, musicians from the Twin Cities area began to organize for a benefit concert to raise money for the victims. Each of the artists below independently contacted the The Fine Line Music Cafe, asking to be part of any relief concert they were organizing. The benefit concert was held on Sunday, August 12, 2007 at the Fine Line Music Cafe. A portion of the bar sales plus 100% of the door fees and proceeds from a silent auction - $17,000 in all - were donated to the Minnesota Helps- Bridge Disaster Fund (see Charities and Victims Compensation Funds).(1) The performers included:(2)



The silent auction consisted of a variety of items donated from several individuals and organizations around the state. Minnesota NASCAR joined other donators including 3M, BestBuy, General Mills, Great Clips, Imation/Memorex and Target by contributing items to the auction. Several "Big-Ticket" items brought funds in for the relief effort. One such big ticket item was driver-autographed memorabilia. The nonprofit NASCAR foundation also made a donation to the relief fund. (3)



Jewish Community Outreach


The Jewish Community Relations Council helped organize responses to the bridge collapse by co-sponsoring a Community Interfaith Prayer Service at St. Mark's Cathedral in Minneapolis. The Prayer Service was open to people of all faiths. It was intended to provide a place for comfort and support for anyone affected by the bridge collapse. Rabbis were also present on the collapse site to pray with anyone in need. Further support was provided by The Temple Israel which held a service of healing. This healing service was an opportunity for all affected by the bridge collapse to come together and grow and heal as a group. The Jewish Family and Children's Service of Minneapolis provided free crisis intervention counseling for anyone who needed emotional or psychological support following the collapse. The counseling included family counseling for those who had children and solo counseling for anyone who need to heal privately. (4)


Minnesota Twins 


The collapse of the 35W bridge occurred about a half hour before the start of the Minnesota Twin's game against the Kansas City Royals. At the request of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety the August 1st game was held as scheduled. However, the Thursday game was postponed in order to lessen traffic into the area and to allow the team to show support for the victims. The groundbreaking ceremony for the new Twins stadium, originally scheduled for August 7, 2007, was also postponed out of respect. The Twins believed that after waiting 12 years for a new stadium, another few weeks out of respect for those who suffered loss or injury was appropriate. (5,6) The Minnesota Twins have also printed a copy of the I-35W highway sign with 8-1-2007 below it and placed it behind home plate in the Metrodome in remembrance of the disaster.


On March 31, 2008 the Twins honored a bridge collapse hero with by giving him the opportunity to throw the opening pitch at the season opener. Matthew Miller received a standing ovation from the crowd and a hug from Team General Manager Ron Gardenhire. Miller, after witnessing the bridge collapse while working on one of the construction crews, pulled several victims to safety before the first emergency responders arrived.


3-CD Compilation


CD baby, a CD production company, is partnering with a group of national musicians to compile a 3 -CD set entitled "Musicians for Minneapolis: 57 Songs for the I-35W Bridge Disaster Relief Effort". The goal of the CD set is to provide much needed funding to the victims and families affected by the bridge collapse. All proceeds from the CD sale will be donated to the Minnesota Helps: Bridge Disaster Fund. (7) Country artists Rockie Lynne contributed the opening song to the CD set and are expected to drive sales of the compilation. (8) Several other artists including Los Lobos, Joe Bonamassa, Jim Lauderdale, Steve Vai and The Scorchers are among the contributors. A full lists of the artists contributing to the CD set can be found here. Furthermore, Electro-Voice (the parent company compiling the CD) will hold a charity auction of celebrity memorabilia to raise further funds for the charity. The memorabilia is set to include several signed instruments from artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai and many others. All of the memorabilia will be donated by Electro-Voice and all proceeds from the auction will go to provide further support to the victims. (7,9)


The United Way-Twin Cities


Following the collapse the Twin Cities United Way established their 211 line, a telephone line established to provide assistance, to assess the interim needs of families who had a loved one die in the collapse. Resource Coordinators were established, in conjunction with Minnesota Helps, and worked with the victims to present their needs to the Long Term Recovery Committee (LTRC), a committee established to assess the needs of victims. To date, the United Way has helped connect 95 survivor families with the LTRC to receive support. The president of The United Way, Lauren Segal, said "From the very beginning, each group that is participating on the Long Term Recovery Committee, has worked as a team, putting the needs of the survivors first.”(10) The United Way continues to work with the LTRC and Minnesota Helps to provide support for victims of the bridge collapse.


The Adventure Divers of Minot, North Dakota


A group of professional divers called the Adventure Divers of Minot first responded to the bridge collapse after hearing from Bolander & Sons, the demolition contractor in charge of the bridge cleanup, that divers were needed to assist with the cleanup. Although the dive effort was coordinated by the United States Navy, the Adventure Divers were on site to start removing debris as soon as it was cleared by the Navy divers. Although the Adventure Divers were unable to participate in the search for victims, they provided a significant amount of aid to the construction crew once the Navy had cleared the scene. (11) Click here to watch a video of the divers at work following the bridge collapse.


YouTube Outreach


The following is a YouTube Tribute that was compiled in honor of those affected by the 35W Bridge collapse. The song used in the video is an original compilation and is also available for purchase on iTunes. All proceeds from the purchase of the song are donated to the American Red Cross Twin Cities Chapter for ongoing community support.



The author of the video is Phil Thompson, more information can be found at





  1. Schugel, James. Fine Line Benefit Raises $17K for Bridge Relief. Retrieved 3.27.2008.
  2. MFR. Reminder: 35W Bridge Relief Benefit Concert Tonight!. Retrieved 3.28.2008.
  3. NASCAR. Minnesota sponsors come together for bridge relief. Retrieved 3.28.2008.
  4. E-democracy. 35W. Retrieved 3.28.2008.
  5. Thesier, Kelly. Twins to Play Indians as Planned. Retrieved 3.30.2008
  6. Thesier, Kelly. Tragedy Hits Close to Home for Twins. Retrieved 3.30.2008.
  7. CD Baby. Musicians for Minneapolis. Retrieved 3.26.2008.
  8. PRNewswire. Rockie Lynne Lends Talent to Benefit CD for Bridge Collapse Victims Retrieved 3.26.2008.
  9. Hogendorn, Brittany. Musicians for Minneapolis Benefit CD. Retrieved 3.26.2008.
  10. Langer, Christelle.__ I-35W Bridge Long Term Recovery Committee and Minnesota Helps – Bridge Disaster Fund™ Progress Report on Aid to Bridge Collapse Survivors__. Retrieved March 30, 2008.
  11. Truveo. __Minot Diver Working in Minneapolis__. Retrieved April 14, 2008.