Groups raise funds for van
By Tim Ruzek
Military veterans in Mower County hope that by fall they will have a new van to take them to Minneapolis and St. Cloud for medical appointments.
On Tuesday, the Mower County Board accepted about $14,368 in revenue from a local raffle fundraiser for a new van as well as $330 in money returned from some of the winners.
Overall the county now has about $27,851 to buy a van through a state contract, said Wayne Madson, the county’s veterans services officer. Another $13,154 has come from other donations, he said.
"I think we’re in real good shape," Madson said.
Revenues from the usual charitable gambling sources — which used to be a major funding source for replacing the county’s veterans van — have dropped dramatically, Madson has said. At the same time, use of the county’s two vans for veterans has grown, likely because of higher fuel prices.
About 890 veterans use the county’s van services, Madson said in February, with 10 trips made every month to Veterans Affairs hospitals in Minneapolis and St. Cloud for appointments, treatments, surgeries and other needs.
Members of the area Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans groups announced the raffle’s start in February and have made club donations toward the vehicle.
In 1991, the county and military service clubs entered into an agreement in which Mower County pays for drivers, fuel, insurance and maintenance if the organizations buy the vans.