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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota veterans outdoor programs awarded $90,000 grant

Camp Ripley recreation CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - A $90,000 grant to support veteran's outdoor activities was approved by the Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund in late 2015 to benefit programs throughout the state.

"The three-year grant was established to provide $30,000 a year to assist in the costs of lodging and food for programs that encourage veterans to take part in outdoor activities," according to a spokesperson from the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

The veterans programs that will benefit from this grant include the annual disabled veteran turkey and deer hunts hosted at Camp Ripley near Little Falls. Additionally, the financial contribution will aid the widely supported Trolling for the Troops event which offers veterans, service members and professional anglers the opportunity to spend a day on the water together.

"Our biggest benefit from this in the sustainment of longevity," said Minnesota Veterans Outdoor Coordinator Dennis Erie. "I greatly appreciate V4V stepping up with this grant to help establish strength and stability for our programs."

For nearly three decades, Minnesota National Guard training facilities at Camp Ripley and Arden Hills have been the settings for a variety of turkey and deer hunts, many of which are offered to the Veteran community.

Beginning in 2010 the opportunity for veterans and currently serving service members received another venue with the establishment of Trolling for the Troops. Coined T4T, the program pairs pro anglers with a veteran and a current service member for a fishing experience on Minnesota's Mille Lacs Lake and Mississippi River. The intent is to share in the experiences the military service, the common love of fishing and encourage healing where it is needed.

"These are great programs that were originally supported by the VA Medical Center's volunteer services department," said Randy Tesdahl, adjutant general for Minnesota's American Legions. "It's only in recent years that the service organizations have proudly taken on the responsibility of running the events themselves."

Funding for each programs event was made possible by the donations receives from different posts, chapters and organizations supporting veterans activities.

Now through the combined efforts of organizations like Veterans 4 Veterans, programs like those at Camp Ripley and Ely can maintain a strong, positive relationship with the growing veteran community.

February 17, 2016
by Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs

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