Fund-raiser at VFW to help local wounded veterans

The Minneapolis chapter of Team River Runner and the Coon Rapids VFW Post 9625 will host a spaghetti dinner fund-raiser to support local wounded veterans Saturday, Dec. 15, 5 to 7 p.m., at the VFW Post, 1919 Coon Rapids Blvd.

There will also be a silent auction and live music by the band, Lakewind.

As more soldiers return from Afghanistan and Iraq, there is a greater need to reach out to and accommodate those who have been injured or simply need an activity that relieves stress and encourages an active and healthy lifestyle, according to Marie Malinowski, Team River Runner Minneapolis chapter secretary.

Team River Runner Minneapolis recognizes that wounded service members endure many months of surgeries, physical and readjustment therapy, prosthetic fittings, and other life changes, Malinowski said.

“In tandem with these disabilities are the further personal and social challenges of PTSD and depression,” she said.

“Kayaking helps create a social network and support system for an exciting lifestyle that suddenly seemed lost due to injury.”

The chapter holds kayaking pool sessions at the Brooklyn Center pool from 5 to 7 p.m. Sundays, according to Malinowski.

“This allows vets to learn the basics in a warm, controlled, non-threatening environment until they’re ready to hit the moving water in the spring,” Malinowski said.

“We are actively accepting wounded veterans into the program throughout the year.”

Tickets for the Dec. 15 event are $10 and can be purchased at the door.

Team River Runner (TRR), a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is a primarily volunteer non-profit organization run by a council of kayakers and overseen by a board of directors.

It was initially established to help active duty military personnel wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan who were recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

TRR expanded to other Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) chapter sites in 2007.

TRR Minneapolis, a local chapter of national TRR, provides wounded and non-wounded veterans in Minneapolis with the opportunity to find health, healing and new challenges through kayaking, according to Malinowski.

No experience is necessary and all equipment and lessons are provided free of charge by TRR, Malinowski said.

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