Two checks were presented to the Itasca County Veteran’s Services (ICVS) and the nonprofit organization — Itasca County Veterans Council (ICVC) — Monday morning from Crossfit Itasca and The Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 2469 in Grand Rapids.
The Itasca County Veterans Council operates a medical van for veterans in Itasca County. The nonprofit operated with its previous van for two years and eight months, with a total of 98,525 miles put on. A 2019 Chrysler Pacifica from Lake Woods Chrysler was purchased to replace the van.
“Veterans can schedule their VA appointments according to the van schedule, then call our coordinator to line up their ride to and from their VA appointments. The van takes trips to the following VA facilities; Minneapolis, St. Cloud, Brainerd, Hibbing, and Twin Ports,” Luke St. Germain said. St. Germain is the ICVS’s Officer and chairman of ICVC.
Operation of the medical van is also funded in part by Itasca County for $20,000.
“We greatly appreciate the unwavering support that each of the commissioners continue to show the veterans,” St. Germain added.
St. Germain added that there are many people who come together to make the operation of the medical van possible.
“The van coordinators are Bonnie and Jerry Anderson, who do an amazing job at lining up the drivers and riders so everything runs effectively and efficiently,” St. Germain said. “We would also like to thank our current drivers as well; Ron Chapek, Jerry Anderson, Don Carlson, Harvey Davis, Jeff Frazier, Frank Lachinski, Ron Storlie, and our many drivers of the past. We know these can be long days of driving and we thank you for your efforts!”
Representing CrossFit Itasca for the presentation was Matt Alstad. A check for $2,000 was given to the ICVS. Donations were raised through the community participation of two events hosted by CrossFit Itasca — The Murph, and The Memorial Mile and 5K.
“We wish to make an impact in our local community. We want to see the funds go directly to our veteran neighbors, friends, and family that might need the resources that ICVS provides,” Alstad said. “We want to show our appreciation to our local vets. We want our vets to know we’ve seen them struggle and we want to help. As our local population of veterans continues to age, they are going to need more of our help and CrossFit Itasca will do its best to raise awareness and provide funds.”
Caren Cimino, auxiliary president, and Joyce Berglund, inside guard, came to present the check from the The Fraternal Order of Eagles No. 2469
Cimino said, “The Fraternal Order of Eagles are a people helping people non-profit organization. The auxiliary has given donations to the veterans of Itasca County for many years and we are glad to donate toward the veteran’s purchase of a van.”
The Eagles Auxiliary and CrossFit Itasca have been faithful repeat contributors,” St. Germain noted. “We primarily operate from monetary donations, so having faithful contributors like them is vital to ensure our van operation continues the mission of helping veterans travel to their VA appointments. It’s encouraging to see the support individuals and local organizations show their veterans.”