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Former NFLer leads Cottage Grove Prayer Breakfast

Former NFL player Ben Utecht sang a rendition of “Amazing Grace” at Cottage Grove’s ninth-annual Prayer Breakfast at Mississippi Dunes last week. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss) 1 / 2
Dozens of local leaders and business owners gathered in prayer at Mississippi Dunes last week as part of the ninth-annual Prayer Breakfast. (Bulletin photo by Emily Buss)2 / 2

From the gridiron of the National Football League to an intimate spiritual gathering at Mississippi Dunes golf course in Cottage Grove, Super Bowl champion Ben Utecht serenaded local officials last week during the city’s annual Prayer Breakfast and spoke about his religious background.

Sponsored by the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, the ecumenical religious service is mirrored after the national event that takes place in Washington D.C. each year.

This year’s theme was “A Tribute to the Community.” A handful of veterans in the crowd, as well as the entire veteran community across the United States, were honored.

Utecht, who is a professional football player turned Christian singer, talked about growing up the son of a Methodist preacher and how religion continues to play a key role in his life.

Local business owners Paula and Michael Buschilla, owners of Hope Glen Farm, were recipients of an award that honored their dedication to the Prayer Breakfast. They have helped organize the event since its inception nine years ago.

Cottage Grove Mayor Myron Bailey and St. Paul Park Mayor Keith Franke welcomed guests, and Mary Slusser, of Spartan Promotions, emceed the event.

“I want to thank all of the service members not only for your service that you did, but for all that you do within our community,” Franke said. “From the bottom of my heart, thank you very much.”

In the nine years the Prayer Breakfast has been held, Franke said this year was the largest turnout.