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Remembering all the serving soldiers

Little did organizer Charlie Weible know that when the inspiration came to him at Christmas time ten years ago to begin an event for the sole purpose of helping families of serving soldiers that it would grow from a simple pancake breakfast taking in $600 to a daylong event filled with countless activities that would turn those fundraising numbers into thousands of dollars.

“It did happen, turning out to be more than I ever imagined and I couldn’t be  happier,” Weible said as he continues to tout the yearly Remembering Our Serving Soldiers (R.O.S.S.) that is marking its tenth year this Saturday, March 9, at the the West Fargo VFW, 308 Sheyenne St.

The purpose of the event hasn’t swayed or changed through the years -- remaining constant in its cause of donating the proceeds toward supporting the families of local Guard and Reserve units including the North Dakota Army and Air National Guard and Navy Reserve.

R.O.S.S. will get underway with a silent auction starting at 11 a.m. and continuing until 7 p.m. with a passel of other activities mixed in -- a barbecue lunch served from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for $3;  Bingo from 2 to 3 p.m. and from 7 to 8:30 p.m.; and meat raffles from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

A highlight of the day will be the special Memorial Program scheduled at 4 p.m. honoring all veterans who have served or are serving, as well as those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. 

Fittingly, Weible will be conducting the program that will focus on placement of a dozen single roses as corresponding war names are read off -- one for each conflict endured, as well as one for prisoners of war and those missing in action.

The event is open to the public age 21 and older, with entire families welcome to take in the evening steak fry that will be held downstairs from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Tickets for the meal which will include a steak, baked potato, baked beans, mushrooms,  and garlic bread are $12 for adults and $6 for children ages 14 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

The evening will conclude with music on the dance floor by the Frontt Fenders at 8:30 p.m.

Weible, a longtime Post 7564 member who was serving as commander when the initial R.O.S.S. idea came to him, said that about $80,000 has been raised during previous events, including $13,000 last year, adding he will be happy with a repeat of that amount this year.

Weible encourages everyone to visit the VFW on Saturday and take part in the comaraderie and fun. “The Guard has always been there and put in more than their time not only nationally but on the state level too  assisting with local flooding issues and other issues. Everyone should come out and show their support and have a good time in the process.”

Weible said the club is expecting a big crowd.” This is a great event annually. I get asked constantly when is R.O.S.S. coming up? It’s becoming so popular we have to set the date for the following year right after it is held so we get the day we want before the schedule fills up.”

That’s a great situation to have.

Weible added that about 300 steaks were served last encouraging anyone looking for an excellent meal to enjoy their evening dining at the VFW, sharing the occasion and conversation with serving soldiers who will be in attendance.

He also pointed out that organizers are still accepting silent auction items and anyone wishing to donate can call the West Fargo VFW at 701-282-4728.