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Community rallies around its Veterans

A couple of weeks ago, it dawned on the Little Red-Haired Girl that I have been an adopted member of the West Fargo community for more than 8 years.

Thats eight football seasons (and four state championships); eight first days of school; and, after Monday, eight Veterans Days.

I lump Veterans Day in the mix because Im always delighted with the support this community bestows upon its Vets. Each year, as it approached 11 a.m. on Nov. 11, our parking lot here at the Pioneer is overwhelmed with overflow vehicles from our neighbor to the north, as the members of the AmVets, the VFW, and the West Fargo Boy Scouts combine to raise the flag high above Sheyenne Street.

And I cant forget the Ladies Auxiliary, which hands out poppies to the 100-plus people that show up each Veterans Day.

The day-long program, which includes plenty of music, food and fun as friends and family socialize in the name of remembrance, is never boring. Its an exciting chance for people to get together on a day that has become near and dear to most people here.

And why not? Few organizations support their community the way Post 7564 supports the city of West Fargo. Mayor Rich Mattern pointed out in his speech last Friday afternoon that without the VFW, so many things that have happened in the name of progress here in the City on the Grow never would have occurred without the support of the VFW or its members.

Admittedly, Im not a small-town guy. I was born and raised in a city thats growing faster than most in the Upper Midwest. I have lived in the Fargo metropolitan area for more than a decade now. But over the last eight years, Ive been incredibly impressed by the support the VFW shows West Fargo, and the gratitude it receives in return.

Its a great relationship.

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The handful of West Fargo residents pushing for a community/recreational facility on the south side of town deserves credit for the method they are using to rally support.

Led by Rick Keller and Mike Nelson, the group is working hard to develop a relationship with the entities they need to support the facility. Those entities, in turn, would benefit the most from a recreational center.

The fact is, the group is right on. After a few years, the Berger Pool will be in rough shape, despite renovations made recently to the indoor swimming hole. The Vets Pool is on its last leg, and the bathhouse facility there is way outdated. Each year we get out of that location is a blessing.

A community center would ease upcoming burdens on the Park District (who also need to get into the workout facility game, ala Fargo and Sioux Falls), the School District, and the City itself.

Putting all of the facilities in one spot, under one roof, isnt a bad idea at all. Finding the resources to do it will be the biggest obstacle, between the cost of land and the proposed sales tax increase.

However, an increase by Fargo, for the exact amount, would ease that burden just a bit.