VFW in Blaine hosting event to help veterans

When Blaine officially became a Yellow Ribbon Community in May, it was recognized as a community that will make organized efforts to assist current military servicemembers and veterans.

Since then, volunteers have cooked meals and mowed lawns for families of deployed servicemembers, tutored students, been a general resource and so on, according to Rebecca Olson, who is the assistant to the Blaine city manager and a member of the Blaine Beyond the Yellow Ribbon steering committee.

The first major community event since Blaine became a Yellow Ribbon city will be Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Sgt. John Rice VFW Post 6316, located at 1374 109th Ave. N.E. in Blaine.

The event is being called Octoberfest and will feature a German theme. The entire event goes from noon Oct. 13 until 1 a.m. Oct. 14 and there will be a wide variety of events.

The job fair is from noon to 5 p.m. There is no cost to come to the job fair and learn important skills from job coach Mike Elwell or to meet with major companies such as Target, Sam’s Club and Kraus Anderson, according to Dave Regel, a Sgt. John Rice VFW member and chairperson of Blaine’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon steering committee.

As of Sept. 28, Regel said 14 companies had signed up to be at the job fair. The committee hopes to at least have 20 companies participate. Contact daveregel@drcinc.com for more information.

Raffles are from 1 to 6 p.m.

A $15 donation will allow you to eat at the pig roast from 5 to 7:30 p.m and go to dance from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. with music from The Delcounts. Those who make this donation will also receive one raffle ticket for the chance to win a 42-inch HD television, laptop computer or a $100 gift certificate.

According to Olson, the idea for the city of Blaine to get involved in the VFW’s Octoberfest came out of a Yellow Ribbon steering committee meeting. Regel said an Octoberfest pig roast that the VFW hosted last year drew well over 700 people. They are anticipating close to 1,000 people.

“They’ve been so great to work with on this project,” Regel said of the city of Blaine.

Once Octoberfest is over, Olson said a project the committee will work on next includes adopting families for Christmas, which means helping with gifts when a father or mother is deployed. The steering committee works with the Minnesota National Guard’s Family Assistance Center out of Brooklyn Park to find out about families in need.

Blaine’s Yellow Ribbon committee will also be adopting a unit that is being deployed in March, Olson said.

Olson said the biggest struggle right now for the committee is finding people willing to be used as a resource when a person or family needs to find out who could help with projects around the home whether that be cutting down a dead tree or getting help with a house repair.

To help the Blaine Beyond the Yellow Ribbon committee in any way, contact Olson at rolson@ci.blaine.mn.us or 763-785-6120.

Eric Hagen is at eric.hagen@ecm-inc.com

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