Veterans

The Waconia Lions Club is organizing a trip in April 2018 to take Korean and Vietnam War veterans to Washington, D.C.

The trip will take place on April 25, 2018 and will be similar to a trip organized for World War II veterans in 2008. Veterans who are current residents of Carver County, or were at the time of their service, are eligible for the trip.

“Our Lions club has had a focus on honoring our veterans for many years, most recently when we brought the Wounded Warriors Amputee Softball team to Waconia in 2013, and our annual military mailing program,” stated Lion Richard Beckett, in a press release. “The World War II trip was an amazing event, and we have decided to do it again.”

The trip includes transportation to the airport, flight to Washington, D.C., lunch and transportation to the Korea and Vietnam memorials and other monuments, memorial ceremony in Washington, return flight, and a welcome reception when the group arrives back in Waconia. Interested veterans should visit http://waconialionsclub.org or www.facebook.com/WaconiaLions/ for the application form and more details.

The Lions have estimated that the trip will cost around $83,000 to organize, and they will begin looking to the people and businesses in Carver County to raise the funds. Current Waconia Lions President Jason Wagener said, “The last time we did something like this, we concentrated our efforts and received amazing support from Waconia. For this project, we are going to try to involve the entire county in raising money and identifying eligible veterans.”

The Lions will be visiting other organizations around Carver County to spread the word about the project and ask for participation. Anyone is welcome to donate in any amount, but there are also several specific donation opportunities available for anyone who wants to be involved.

“We are looking for a business or organization to step up and cover the cost of ground transportation for these veterans, which would be a $7,500 commitment,” said Lion Rick Wagener. “We also need a major donor to cover the cost of the lunch for the guys in Washington, which would be about $4,000.”

The club estimates that it will cost about $750 for each veteran on the trip, plus several volunteers from the club and a few other support people to participate.

Donations can be mailed to Waconia Lions Veterans Memorial Trip, PO Box 21, Waconia, MN 55387, or made in person at Hometown Bank in Waconia. The Lions will have an online donation portal available soon at http://waconialionsclub.org

“We have seen how a project like this can bring the whole community together, not only for raising money, but to honor these men for their service to our country,” said Lion Jim Sanborn. “Many of them did not receive a welcome home when they returned from the war, and we want to make sure they know how much they are appreciated.”

Community Editor

Mark Olson, the Chaska and Chanhassen community editor who has worked in Carver County for 20 years, makes any excuse to write about local history. In his spare time, Mark enjoys perusing old books, watching blockbusters and taking Midwest road trips.

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