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West Fargo Veteran groups present donation in support of local military families

A trio of West Fargo military Veteran groups on Saturday handed over one of its biggest monetary donations to help Families of local North Dakota National Guard Soldiers and Airmen and Naval Reserve Sailors who are serving away from home. The presentation took place on Saturday, May 5, at the Fargo Armed Forces Reserve Center, the headquarters for the Guard's 141st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade (MEB) and U.S. Naval Operational Support Center.

Charles Weible, of the West Fargo Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7564, along with Agnes Rieniets, West Fargo VFW Ladies Auxiliary, and Glen Mauer, West Fargo AMVETS Memorial Post 8, presented a check totaling nearly $13,700 to Col. Lannie D. Runck, commander of the 141st MEB, on behalf of nine local Family Readiness Groups (FRGs).

It was the ninth year that the West Fargo organizations have donated to the cause, which helps fund family support initiatives for loved ones of deployed service people in the North Dakota Army and Air Guard and local Naval Reserve forces.

Most of this year's money was raised at the ninth annual R.O.S.S. (Remembering Our Serving Soldiers) fund-raising event, hosted by the West Fargo VFW in March. The West Fargo AMVETS and Ladies Auxiliary each contributed about $2,000 to the cause.

`Weible, founder of the R.O.S.S. event, said the annual fund-raiser has grown tremendously since its inception back in 2004, when the groups raised about $800.

"I think it's a very important," he said. "This funding allows families with loved ones serving overseas to be able to go out and do things together, such as go to a movie or other fun activities. Next year will be our 10th anniversary and we're hoping for an even better year."

The money also helps keep military families connected, building a necessary support network amongst their peers who understand the challenges of military life.

Bill Tuff, quartermaster for the West Fargo VFW, said that all members enjoy supporting the R.O.S.S. fund-raiser.

"It's always been a good thing for us," Tuff said. "When we were all in the service, there wasn't anything like this."

With the most recent donation, more than $88,000 has been raised through R.O.S.S. fund-raisers over the years.

Runck said organizers would like to see similar fund-raisers gain momentum in other places across the state of North Dakota.

"This is what it's all about - community support and integrating with fraternal organizations," Runck said. "It just means so much to the FRGs."