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Remembering our serving soldiers

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The 4th annual Remembering Our Serving Soldiers (R.O.S.S.) event which took place Saturday, March 31, at the West Fargo VFW will go down in history as one of the best ever, according to Charlie Weible, West Fargo VFW Post 7564 past commander and lifetime member who founded the observance when he served as post commander four years ago and has chaired it ever since.

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The remembrance provided an excellent opportunity to bring members of the community together in support of North Dakota soldiers and airmen now serving in the military. "We had a great turnout and we'll keep right on doing it," Weible said. "I feel great about it. It was a really good feeling to see people come out to show their support for the service people."

The daylong event consisted of a highly successful silent auction, a sold-out hamburger luncheon, an evening steak fry at which 350 steaks were served, as well as performances by the 188th Army Band and the local band Sideline.

The highlight of the program was a short, somber Memorial Service honoring the fallen soldiers of the North Dakota Army National Guard who paid the ultimate price and made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. West Fargo High School Senior Brandon Millar sang "God Bless America," followed by the reading of the names of the lost veterans by Weible that included: Spc. Jon Fettig, Dickinson; Ssg. Kenneth Hendrickson, Bismarck; Sgt. Keith Smette, Fargo; Spc. Philip Brown, Jamestown; Spc. James Holmes, Grand Forks; Ssg. Lance Koenig, Fargo; Spc. Cody Wentz, Williston; Spc. Michael Hermanson, Fargo; Sgt. Travis Vanzoest, Bismarck; Spc. Curtis Mehrer, Bismarck; Cpl. Nathan Goodiron, Mandaree; and Cpl. Christopher Kleinwachter, Wahpeton. Millars' rendition of the "National Anthem" concluded the formal program.

All proceeds from the event will be presented to the Family Support Groups of the North Dakota Air and Army National Guard, which offers essential services to the families of deployed military members, including: spouse employment assistance, financial services, emergency loans, education grants, child care assistance, counseling services, and transition assistance to the families of our deployed military members.

Weible said he is most appreciative of everyone's efforts in making the 4th annual Remembering Our Serving Soldiers gathering a success. "It was a lot of hard work, but we had a lot of people pitching in. The guard helped us out a lot, as did members of the West Fargo Ladies Auxiliary. We want to thank everyone who helped out in any way for their support, including those who contributed silent auction items."

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