Twenty-eight-year-old Derek Weida lost his right leg after being shot while on patrol in Iraq. “I was thinking, ‘There’s a good chance I could die out here.’ And I obviously came really close,” Weida said. He struggled with what to do with his life when he came home, but now he has a plan to help himself, and veterans just like him. Derek loved everything about the military, especially the brothers and sisters he made as part of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Thousands of Minnesota veterans return home from combat duty every year. But when they get here, it’s sometimes tough to get a job. That’s only one of the struggles veterans face. Finding a job, getting health care services, fighting homelessness.
Sometimes a simple gesture can be so inspiring, it leads to something bigger than anyone expected. That’s what we found in central Minnesota. A few years ago, people chipped in to put a few winter wreaths on the graves at the State Veterans Cemetery near Little Falls.
A wounded Minnesota soldier is being recognized with a very special gift. Justin Utecht was given the keys to a house in Minnetonka on Friday. “It’s absolutely gorgeous in there,” Utecht said. “For a single guy it’s pretty good.” U.S. Bank, Freedom Alliance and Five Brothers Default Management Solutions partnered together to donate the home as a kickoff to Veterans Day weekend. Utecht served in Iraq from 2006 to 2008, and has struggled adjusting to life back at home due to post-traumatic stress disorder and migraines.
A new play based on personal stories of military veterans of all conflicts and all sides will be performed next month at Fort Snelling. “The Veterans Play Project” previews Nov. 14 and runs Nov. 15-24 at Fort Snelling’s Base Camp.
The former resident at 136 Shadywood Lane in Delano, Minn., was a victim of the nation’s housing collapse. Now, this once bank-owned property is a proud symbol of recovery, as it was the the first Minnesota home donated to Operation Homefront’s Homes for Veterans program.
In Minnesota, veterans rallied at the Vietnam Memorial in St. Paul to show their support of the national movement. They talked about the closing of the national war memorials and the suspension of death benefits to military families.
Minnesota veterans also rallied Sunday morning in support of the march in D.C. The protest on the National Mall in Washington D.C. was led by hundreds of veterans and demonstrators, against the shutdown.
More furloughs for federal workers in Minneapolis Tuesday as the shutdown entered its eighth day. The union representing veterans service workers says 148 employees were notified they would be sent home as a result of the shutdown.
There’s a week left for Minnesota troops and veterans to file for a tax credit designed to recognize their combat service. About 2,200 still hadn’t filed for the refundable tax credit as of last week, according to the Minnesota Department of Revenue.
It’s 4 a.m. on a Tuesday and breakfast is sizzling on the griddle. The hunters are clad in blaze-orange and preparing for a day in the woods. But in this deer camp of sorts, hunters come in wheel chairs, braces and scooters. Their appetite is for little more than to get out into the woods.
Military Times Edge magazine has named St. Paul’s McNally Smith College of Music one of the best colleges for veterans.
A weapon once used in war is now a symbol of peace, thanks to a Minnesota man who wanted to do the “right thing.” Hundreds looked on as World War II veteran Orval Amdahl returned a Japanese sword to its rightful owner Saturday afternoon in St. Paul. Amdahl was given the sword 68 years ago as a war souvenir. He never felt it truly belonged to him, so Amdahl used an inscription on the sword to find its true owner, which led him to the Motomura family of Japan.
The 9th annual “Tee it Up for the Troops” event brought out more than 1,000 golfers to the Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights Friday. The event allowed more than 100 veterans and Purple Heart recipients to golf for free in a show of appreciation for their service. The first swing on the tee box marks the start of an 18-hole challenge. Mike Reeder, a Vietnam War veteran who is visiting from Nashville, Tenn., had nothing but confidence as he began his game.
Minnesota’s Sen. Al Franken is pushing for legislation that would help ease the back log of claims filed by veterans who are in need of benefits.