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Voyageur's Best Features of 2005

Donny and Penny Fiester

The ‘needle’ in the haystack
Donny and Penny Fiester found the medallion
by John Grones  |  August 9, 2005

The Fiester family has had quite a year. It was just this past November that the McGregor residents were recognized in the Minnesota Vikings Fan of the Week contest. Now here in August, they are $700 richer. They studied clues for the past two years and it paid off.

Donny Fiester and his mother Penny found the medallion on Tuesday, August 2!

Rumors had been spreading that maybe the medallion was not actually out there and yet others felt the clues were too hard.

Not for Donny and Penny.

“It was the needle in the haystack clue that did it,” said Donny.

“We were standing on the railroad tracks and I asked Donny to read the clue to me,” added Penny who noted that they went out at 7:00 in the evening and found the medallion at 7:30. “I said, ‘Read it to me again. Hay is on the north side of the tracks... needle... south side... sewing place... let’s go. We have to swing by the clinic. They have needles too.’”

Donny and Penny didn’t spend much time at the clinic before heading right for Timeless Treasures. “We got over there and it was a matter of minutes,” said Donny, who crawled under the ramp that goes up to the front door.

When Donny first saw the package stapled to the wood, he wasn’t quite sure. “It was just a matter of reaching in there and pulling it out,” said Penny. “Donny was shaking and it took him a while to get the medallion out of the plastic.”

For the Fiesters, the $700 is a welcome prize. Penny pretty much left the decision of how to spend the money up to Donny. It turns out that Donny purchased shingles for his dad, so they can reroof the garage. Donny also paid a bill at Countryside Millwork for a remodeling project he is currently working on.

Over the past two years, the Fiesters have been actively looking for the medallion. Not as much the first year, but they really got into it last year. “We went out a little bit the first year,” said Penny. “The second year, I would get home from work, we’d grab the flashlight and we would go until 10:00 or 11:00 each night.”

“We did end up at the bridge where the medallion was located last year,” added Donny, “but nobody wanted to crawl under there.”

“We had the flashlight. We just didn’t look hard enough,” concluded Penny.

When it came to solving the clues, the Fiesters had a system. “First, set your boundries,” said Penny. “You know they aren’t going to hide the medallion where someone could get hurt. Stay out of people’s yards. You know they aren’t going to put it in somebody’s yard. It’s going to be a public place or a business.

That business just happened to be Timeless Treasures and the Fiesters thought it was ironic that that’s where they found their ‘treasure’.

The secret to the Fiesters success was focusing on the clues. “It seems like the beginning of the clue was just a rhyme to get it going,” said Donny, “and at the end, that’s where the clue was.” The Fiesters even went as far as looking for a history of McGregor on the internet. They didn’t have any luck, but they did share that they found a book at the McGregor historical society.

The last rule, only serious medallion hunters can come along. Donny and Penny were very focused and they didn’t want any distractions, so they encouraged others not to follow them.

Now that the mystery is over and that ‘needle’ in a haystack has been found, the question is, will they do it again. “I hope they keep doing this,” concluded Penny. “It’s something to look forward to. I love Wild Rice Days and the whole month before.”

This article first appeared in the August 9, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.