YMCA Waives Joiner’s Fee for Veterans and Families

Minneapolis, MN – Effective November 1, all Minnesota YMCAs, a leading nonprofit dedicated to strengthening communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, will waive the joiner’s fee for veterans and their families. The monthly membership fee still applies.

The Minneapolis and St. Cloud VA Health Care Systems and the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that drops the enrollment fee and also allows the VA to use space at YMCA facilities for outreach events. The MOU is for a 28-month period.

“Our nation’s veterans, and their families, have dedicated so much in service to our country,” said Theresa Hillis, chair of the Minnesota Alliance of YMCAs. “The Y is honored to have the opportunity to show our appreciation by doing what we do best – improving the lives of individuals in the communities we serve. Minnesota is proud to join many YMCAs across the nation that are already working with the VA and providing services directly to veterans, and honoring their service.”

The fee waiver applies to all Minnesota veterans, including those who are not receiving VA benefits.

To apply for YMCA membership, veterans should go to their local YMCA and present their Veteran’s Health Identification Card, a copy of their DD214 form or a military ID card.

A list of all Minnesota YMCA locations is available at: www.mn-y.org/locations.

“The purpose for developing this partnership was to improve access to fitness opportunities and enhance the overall well-being of veterans and their families throughout the state,” said Dr. Kathlene Scholljegerdes, a psychologist and health behavior coordinator at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The local outreach activities will depend on space availability at each YMCA. Outreach activities could include job fairs, town hall meetings and events related to employment, homelessness and healthy lifestyle programming.

“This important partnership is only a beginning but we envision other creative opportunities to work together with the YMCA to benefit our veterans,” said Patrick Kelly, director of the Minneapolis VA Health Care System.

The Minnesota partnership is an extension of a national level agreement announced in December 2015 by VA Secretary Robert McDonald that the VA and Y-USA had agreed to work together on a national level to improve veterans’ health.

One of the VA’s goals under Secretary McDonald is to “enhance and develop trusted partnerships.”

SharePoint Credit Union Coat Drive 

SharePoint Credit Union has partnered with the DAV MN to collect and donate winter coats, mittens, hats, coveralls, snow pants, and other winter items to support veterans and their families in need this winter. To kick off the event, SharePoint hosted a breakfast for members and the community on October 10, 2016 at their new Bloomington Branch. If you, your friends, or family have gently used coats they would like to donate, you can do so at ANY SharePoint Credit Union Branch!!

The coat drive will run until December 15, 2016!

Lake Minnetonka Veteran Cruise – Southern MN DAV Outdoors

On Tuesday, September 13, 2016 thirty-six Minnesota veterans from the Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Veterans 4 Veterans (V4V), and Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) as well as veteran residents of the Augustana Care facility of Burnsville were treated to a 3-hour cruise and tour of Lake Minnetonka, including a box lunch, by local businessman Gabriel Jabbour, former mayor of Orono, MN.

The veterans gathered at Tonka Bay Marina at 11AM for what turned out to be a grand weather day cruising beautiful Lake Minnetonka.

During the cruise, Mr. Jabbour provided history about “Big Island” which for many years was a veteran’s camp and then enjoyed a box lunch and drink on the shores of the island.  To learn more about the island follow this link http://www.ci.orono.mn.us/index.asp and search for Big Island History.  They visited many areas of the Lake which has 124 miles of beautiful shoreline.  The lake is located approximately 15 miles west-southwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota and is one of the state’s most popular among boaters, fishermen, and recreationists.

Mr. Jabbour said: “Ultimately, my goal is just to make the community a little better every day.  I am committed to try and see the lake better off when I leave than when I found it.”

Dean Ascheman, one of the organizers of the outing said: “The event was organized by members of Southern MN DAV Chapters including Mankato, New Ulm, Mayo, Mayo Southeast, and Augustana Care facility of Burnsville as a part of their Outdoors program for veterans.”  “Gabriel Jabbour’s continuous support and generosity for our veterans made for a very enjoyable day on beautiful Lake Minnetonka.”

Tonka Bay Marina.

Gabriel Jabbour welcoming veterans as they arrive.

Veterans boarded the boat.

Big Island Nature Park contains 56 acres.

Veterans enjoying the sites

Veterans docked at Big Island having lunch.

Historic Steamboat Minnehaha launched in 1906 as a streetcar on water, sunk in 1926, raised in 1980, restored and put back into operation in 1996.

Veteran Group Picture

Link to local newspaper articles of the event are below.

Meghan Davy – Lake Shore Weekly News. See at:   http://www.swnewsmedia.com/lakeshore_weekly/news/local/veterans-enjoy-lake-minnetonka/article_489a6b88-7746-5847-a9f6-6f73eb387205.html


Canadian Fly In Trip

As we made our way north along Interstate 35 in the pouring rain we couldn’t help but think that it may end up raining like this the entire trip todscf1583 Canada. Even once we had everyone loaded in the van and continued on towards the border it kept raining making for quite a long drive. We did make it to the border though and they allowed us cross over with no problems and were very friendly to us even thanking all Veterans for their service. Despite the long rainy ride we did make it to Nestor Falls Ontario and settled in for the night to prepare for our early flight in the morning.
The next morning came and everyone was up early and ready to go catch the flight into the bush. Despite our excitement once we made it to the airport we quickly learned that due to the fog we would not be flying until it was gone which would most likely be a couple hours. So we made the best of it and headed off for a little breakfast and some much needed coffee. Once we returned for our flight we waited for another fifteen minutes and the planes were ready to go. We loaded up and we were air born towards Tang of the North our final destination. It was a short flight to get there but the view was amazing and thankfully the view didn’t stop even after we landed. We got settled into our cabins and everyone was ready to do some fishing so naturally everyone got into boats and hit the water.

According to our hosts at Tang of the North the fishing was very slow but we managed to bring in plenty of fish so that we could have a good shore lunch daily. We caught multiple species including walleye, northern, lake trout, largemouth bass, small mouth bass, and the list keeps going. The fishing may have been slow compared to normal but we had a blast and on top of it we had nothing but the quite of nature and beautiful scenery everyway we looked.

We had one boat that was even lucky enough to spot a moose and her calf by the water’s edge getting a drink of water. What an amazing sight that was. We made lots of new friends and enjoyed our time sitting by the fire, fishing, and sharing the stories of success and heart break while we all shared a shore lunch. We were even able to meet some new friends that worked for the ministry in Ontario and they were great people to meet and were definitely a wealth of knowledge as they taught us about the Canadian wilderness. Our hosts at Tang of the North treated us like kings and gave us an amazing trip and the facility there is in the perfect location and an amazing place to stay. Sadly the day did come though that we had to get back onto the plane and head back towards home even though none of us were really ready to go. We had an amazing experience that none of us will forget anytime soon and we all will remember this trip forever.

Allstate Fundraiser

The DAV was selected out of 5 charitable organizations by Allstate Region 5 Agents and staff to be the recipient of the proceeds of their first ever charitable fundraiser. Allstate organized a bean bag tournament at the local Indeed Brewery in Minneapolis. With a goal of 32 teams registered and donations for door prize drawings and sponsors of the event local Allstate agents raised over $4,000 to the DAV of MN.