Last winter was the coldest in 139 years for those living in northern Minnesota, reported KBJR-TV in Duluth.
But that didn’t stop Rudy Hummel from braving sub-zero temperatures night after night last winter.
All night. Every night. Outdoors.
The 17-year-old from Hermantown attracted a worldwide following because of his goal to sleep outside for a full year, which he reached on Friday. In the winter months he slept in a “snow cave” known as a quinzhee, which he told Arise America is built from hollowing out piles of snow. And he kept a cell phone nearby just in case.
“We had a deal where if he ever started shivering he would need to come in, but he never did,” his mom, Gail Johnejack, told KBJR. “He managed it.”
“On the nights where there were thunderstorms I may have wished I was inside, but I didn’t want to go inside because it was pouring…” Hummel told the station. “The wind would rattle the tarp around, I couldn’t get much sleep, the tarp leaked, the rain flew in through the side ’cause of the wind. The thunder kept me awake.”
On the way toward his goal Hummel figured he could raise money at the same time, so he set up a website directing donations to Habitat for Humanity or Hawks Ridge Bird Observatory so the attention wouldn’t be “wasted” on him, KBJR noted.
“I wanna be like him,” his dad, Mark, told the station. “I just… he’s got more together at 17 than I do right now really, in many ways.”
For Hummel, the experience has given him an invaluable perspective.
“I’m not going to claim to have any idea what it’s like to be homeless, but it opened my eyes to the fact that, yeah homeless people are there,” he said.
Here’s an interview with Hummel that took place when he was braving Minnesota’s sub-zero temperatures — and as he was looking to turn his quest into a charity: