“Laconic phrases came out of Mike Hillman in a natural North Country Poetry. Mike then digressed — all good storytellers digress — to tell me, offhand and by the way, on of the most affecting small-town stories I’ve ever heard. In Mike Hillman I thought I had stumbled upon the soul of Ely, Minnesota. He is a tenacious and able man of the north. In the spirit of his forebearers, he can do anything he sets his mind to — even if it’s something he’s never done before. Ely should always belong to prople like Iron Mike Hillman, who realize that lakes are the eyes of the earth; people who know enough to thank the Great Spirit for the rice harvest and to tread lightly on the portages.” Charles Kuralt in Charles Kuralt’s America — the introduction from Mike Hillman’s book.