2017 Events

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Say Thanks Day

Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund held its 13th annual Say Thanks Day event on Saturday, August 19 at the Boy Scout Base Camp at For Snelling. The morning brought beautiful weather and enthusiastic participants ready to show their appreciation for Minnesota’s service members and their families. Over 450 people came out to enjoy family-friendly activities, live music and to take part in the walk and 5K run.

Congratulations to the top 5K competitors in each age category:

17 and Under:  Cullen Feist and Velvet Yang

18 – 35: Nathan Martinez and Kathryn Wyatt

36 – 50: Scot Briske and Missy Stearns

51 – 65: Charles Hayes and Martha Hoffman

66 and Over:  Lanny Orning

Participants began arriving before 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful morning, with temperatures in the upper 60s and plenty of sunshine. As participants arrived and checked in, they were greeted by music from the Emerson Avenue Band and a host of volunteers from Sit Investment Associates, TDS Inc. and the Harding High School Junior ROTC program. The event emcee, K102’s Maverick, kicked off pre-race festivities at 8:45, welcoming participants and thanking them for supporting Minnesota’s service members. Following a moment of silence to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for our country, Emerson Avenue played moving renditions of Taps and the Star Spangled. Nearly 200 runners moved to the starting line at 9:00. A few minutes later, more than 250 walkers made their way to the starting line and began the mile walk.

Maverick opened the post-race program by introducing MMAF, Chair Roger Sit, who gave a brief recap on the current grant totals and the important milestones MMAF has reached in the past year. Roger was joined by MMAF Co-Founder General (Ret) Dennis Schulstad and the two awarded grant checks to Specialist David Bergman of Columbia Heights and Sergeant Ryan Server of Eagan in recognition of their service. Maverick then returned to the stage to recognize the winners of the 5K run. The program concluded with Maverick alerting participants to look to the sky where the Patriot Parachute Team was starting their descent towards Base Camp. The skydivers unfurled a giant American flag as they approached and landed in the ball field adjacent to the crowd.

A special thanks goes to event sponsors: Sit Investment Associates, Federated Insurance, Atomic Data, TDS Inc., iHeartMedia, B & F Fastener, The Wealth Enhancement group and The Frauenshuh Companies.  Thank you to the Minnesota Army National Guard for providing a static display of military vehicles and portable rock climbing wall. MMAF also thanks the Northern Star Council Boy Scouts of America and Base Camp for allowing Say Thanks Day to take place at their beautiful location.

View the 2017 Say Thanks Day Facebook photo gallery


Freedom Run, Minnesota Lake

The 11th annual Freedom Run took place on Saturday, June 17 in Minnesota Lake. Over 260 motorcycles and classic cars participated this year, making it the largest crowd in the event’s history. The morning program consisted of featured speakers, including MMAF’s Barry Winslow, and a marvelous rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Freedom Run Board Member Shelley Berndt. Upon finishing the ride, participants celebrated with music, a hog roast, a bean bag tournament, and a live auction with prizes. The event raised over $24,000, bringing the grand total to over $200,000 dollars over the past eleven years.


The Patriot Ride

The Minnesota Patriot Guard, Dennis Kirk and Tribute to the Troops presented the 2017 Patriot Ride on Saturday, July 8. More than 5,100 riders participated in the 50 mile ride and over 8,000 people attended the day to show their support for Minnesota’s service members and their families. The pre-ride program was kicked off with performances from VocalEssence and a moving speech from MMAF Board Member and Vietnam Veteran, Barry Winslow. The St. Paul Police, the Donnie Smith Bike Show, Huey Helicopter and Commemorative Air Force all provided entertainment throughout the day and the afternoon Military Recognition Program honored Wounded Warriors and Gold Star Families for their service and sacrifices.


Sovereign Estates Winery Fundraiser

MMAF was proud to join us Sovereign Estates Winery in Waconia for a fundraiser on Saturday, July 8 to hear the music of Joey Molland “Badfinger” with emcee Brian Zepp. Patrons heard great music from one of the founders of the “British Invasion” while supporting MMAF on a beautiful evening on Lake Waconia. Thanks to everyone who participated in the evening.


Minnesota Twins Armed Forces Appreciation Day

The Minnesota Twins honored Specialist Ruben Vargas and Sergeant Anton Snyder at Target Field before the Twins played the Rangers on Sunday, July 23 as part of Military Appreciation Day. MMAF Board member and Vietnam Veteran, Barry Winslow awarded the grants as part of the pregame festivities.


Leech Lake Area Ride for Vets

The sixth annual Leech Lake Area Ride for Vets took place on Saturday, August 19 at the Walker American Legion. Over 100 riders were treated to great weather as they ventured out on their hundred mile trip throughout northern Minnesota to raise awareness for veterans and their families. Great support of the event helped raise nearly $8,500 this year.


Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Show

The Twin Cities River Rats will hosted their 8th annual Military Appreciation show at their Minneapolis home site, just off of West River Road in between Broadway Avenue and Plymouth Avenue on Tuesday, August 23 with a military themed program and two flyboarders hoisting the American Flag, the Rats put on another outstanding performance as they barefoot skied, ski-jumped and built human pyramids. A crowd of over 1,500 spectators joined the Rats to help raise over $2,000 for MMAF.


Minnesota State Fair Military Appreciation Day

MMAF was excited to participate in the Military Appreciation Day at the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday, August 29. A new location in Dan Patch Park allowed for MMAF to hand out 1,000 re-usable grocery bags sporting our Thanks logo to fairgoers. Thank you to everyone who stopped by to learn more about MMAF.