An award-filled evening for the bond between Joe Mauer and childhood friend Mike Hally

It was a magic moment.

“This is a great evening, and it’s for a great person,” declared Mike Hally, a former Cretin-Derham Hall student. “It’s a wonderful thing.”

On Saturday night at a Target Field restaurant, Twins baseball legend Joe Mauer gave his friend Mike Hally a special Emmy award.

“Just trying to get out there and spread some positivity and a good message,” Mauer smiled.

That duplicate Emmy was on special order, with braille on the bottom.

The original statuette was won by KSTP Sports Director Joe Schmit for his July 2022 story about friendship — and an act of kindness.

“22 years ago, Joe walked Mike down to the lunchroom and said, ‘sit down,’” Schmit explains. “And the lessons they learned then are still having an impact today.”

Back in the day at Cretin-Derham Hall, Mauer was an athletic superstar.

Hally — who is blind — was new to the school, arriving in his junior year.  

“Yeah, we were in the period together before lunch,” Mauer recalls.

Seeing Hally sitting by himself in the lunchroom, Mauer sat down with him — the encounter evolved into a wonderful friendship.

“Quickly realized how much we had in common,” he says. “How much we enjoyed each other’s company and it made for a fun senior year.”

“In Mike’s case, an entire table found out he was a walking encyclopedia of sports,” Schmit adds. “He knows more than Doogie (KSTP Sports reporter Darren Wolfson), that’s how much he knows about sports.”

In Schmit’s story, the two men reunited decades later in that same cafeteria, walking in those same hallways.

“It was nice to have followed (Mauer’s) career, but it was nice to actually see him for real again,” Hally says. “After such a long time to know that he hadn’t changed at all.”

That story helped influence Katie Shatusky to launch ‘Thumbs Up’ — an Elk River-based organization that raises awareness about mental health support and research.

One of her after-school programs is called ‘No one sits solo.’

“It’s all about Joe Mauer and Mike Hally’s story,” Shatusky notes. “If Joe can do that as a high school student, then why couldn’t I do something and kind of turn the topic of mental health into something light and bright? So really trying to bring kids together and be inclusive at the lunch table.”

Schmit gifted the Emmy he received for the story to Shatusky.

He and Mauer have collaborated on a children’s book called ‘The Right Thing to Do: The Joe Mauer Story.’

All proceeds benefit ‘Thumbs Up’ and another nonprofit, the Falcon Heights-based ‘Highland Friendship Club.’

Both groups help empower kids with mental health support and life skills to help build lasting friendships.

Schmit says his Emmy-winning story celebrates friendship and the power of doing the right thing.

“Too many kids are sitting by themselves in the lunchroom,” he explains. “They play that video all over the state, and hopefully kids will say, ‘let’s find out what they’re all about.’”

You can find out more about Thumbs Up here and the Highland Friendship Club here.