More than 400 people came out to support MMAF and hear New York Times best-selling author and fellow Minnesotan, Vince Flynn, speak at MMAF’s fundraising dinner on November 10, 2009 at the Golden Valley Country Club. Over $400,000 was raised, with an unexpected, on the spot donation of $10,000 by Flynn.
This was a moving, memorable evening with first-class entertainment by a 50-member choir and brass ensemble. WCCO-TV Anchor Don Shelby served as Master of Ceremonies. Some of the highlights include Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Jack Vessey, presenting a MMAF grant to injured soldier Matthew Birr. Vessey and PFC Birr shared a special connection – PFC Birr served in the same unit that General Vessey commanded years ago. PFC Birr was eligible to receive a greater grant award due to his severe injuries, but refused to accept one as he is determined to rehabilitate and return to the Army. Following Birr was the wife of SGT 1st Class Dan Guderjan, Jennifer Guderjan, who painted a vivid picture of the sacrifices a spouse makes when their loved one is deployed. The constant underlying worry, the demands of caring for their two young children alone, and her poignant plea to “never forget” left many with tears in their eyes. Then SSG Scott Adams recounted the horrifying injuries he sustained while serving on his 6th tour of duty. SSG Adams was grateful for the MMAF grant he received which helped him transition to civilian life.
Vince Flynn capped the evening with an entertaining account of his humble background and rise as a novelist. Flynn writes political thrillers, and he has become known for his meticulous research and keen observations regarding world affairs. His books are read by current and former presidents, foreign heads of state, and intelligence professionals around the world. Flynn has written eleven novels (the eleventh was just released in October), and all with the exception of the first, feature counter-terrorism agent Mitch Rapp. Flynn humorously spoke of his encounters with President (George W.) Bush and President Clinton – both fans of his writing. Flynn believes that his respect for the military and love of our country has resonated with readers and driven sales of his books. The evening was a powerful, sometimes emotional, tribute to our Service Members that was enjoyed by all.