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Helping veterans

Our Community Honoring Veterans holds second annual fundraiser

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
Organizers and promoters for Our Community Honoring Veterans record a promotional video for their second annual quilt fundraiser, which raises funds for veterans in need during the holiday season. From left to right: VFW Commander Chris Weiland, Cameron Nelson, Donald Sells, Dan Lewandowski.

As the holiday season gets well underway, some Fort Dodge community members remember that not everyone has it so easy during the “most wonderful time of the year.”

“Winter’s an especially hard time for veterans,” said Donald Sells, organizer for Our Community Honoring Veterans, a fundraiser in its second year.

As the cold, short days start to hit home, a few quilts may generate some warmth in spirit and in practical help for veteran families.

Three quilts, donated by Deer Creek Apartments residents, will be available for those nominated by the public for their service. All funds raised through the program will be distributed to veterans and their families in need as they go through a rough patch.

“That was the whole idea,” Sells said.

-Messenger photo by Elijah Decious
Quilts donated by three women at Deer Creek Apartments are up for a raffle at various locations around Fort Dodge to raise funds for Our Community Honoring Veterans. Quilts, from left to right, were made by Eileen Warner, Nita Fedkenhaur and Irene Whitehill.

The public can nominate any veteran at at any of the following sponsors’ locations: Shimkat Motor Co. (and its Facebook page), Troy Waller Auto Body, Brown’s Shoe Fit and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1856.

The effort is also sponsored by Webster County Veterans Affairs.

Nominations will include a vet’s name, what branch they served in, what sets them apart and their contact information.

Boxes at each location allow folks to donate whatever they feel moved to contribute and purchase raffle tickets, as well. This year, Sells said the fundraiser is aiming to bring in $2,000. Last year, they raised $750. He would like to double fundraising every year to continue to grow the effort.

“Keep in mind that every bit we raise goes to those who need it the most,” he said. “Anything we can do for the vets still isn’t enough. They deserve everything we can do, plus.”

As a father of a veteran who calls the fundraiser “his baby,” making sure veterans are taken care of is an issue close to his heart.

“I started thinking what I could do to help veterans,” he said. “I said let’s do something else, let’s raise money — more than quilts.”

“It means a lot to me,” he added. “No family should be without.”

VFW Commander Chris Weiland said keeping veterans in our thoughts in visible ways thoughout the year is important, especially during the holidays when many deployed can’t be home with their families.

“It’s just a lot harder,” he said.

Raffle ticket holders will be notified if they win after a drawing on Dec. 20. This year’s patriotic donations, two quilts and an afghan, were made and donated by Eileen Warner, Nita Fedkenhaur and Irene Whitehill.

Veterans going through a period of difficulty are encouraged to reach out to resources at Webster County Veterans Affairs for resources and forms of assistance available to them. Director Dan Lewandowski can be reached at 515-573-1479.