2023 Events

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Freedom Run, Minnesota Lake

The 17th annual Freedom Run took place on Saturday, June 17 in Minnesota Lake, with over 250 motorcycles or classic cars participating in the 100-mile ride through scenic south-central Minnesota. MMAF Steering Committee member and Air Force Veteran, Staff Sergeant Zach Husted, provided an update on the number of grants MMAF has provided to Minnesotans. Zach also shared his story of service, how MMAF supported he and his family, and why it is important to continue the mission of saying “thanks” to his fellow service members. Participating in the Freedom Run is a highlight each year and we offer a special thank you to the Freedom Run Board for their long-time support. The event raised over $21,000 this year and the Freedom Run has raised over $300,000 for MMAF since its inception in 2007.


Twin Cities River Rats Water Ski Show

The Twin Cities River Rats hosted their annual Military Appreciation show on the banks of the Mississippi River on Tuesday, June 27. Many of the River Rats have served or are currently serving in the military and their Military Appreciation Show is always a favorite. During the intermission break, MMAF Project Director, Joe Bennek, provided an update on the progress MMAF has made in awarding grants to Minnesota service members and their families.  The River Rats put on a great show for the over 1,000 people in attendance. The event raised $2,225 for MMAF and the River Rats have contributed over $30,000 to MMAF throughout the past 15 years.


Lord Fletchers Military Appreciation Day

Lord Fletcher’s Old Lake Lodge on Lake Minnetonka hosted its first annual Military Appreciation Day on Saturday, August 26. The event, held in partnership with Warrior Whiskey, kicked off with the Patriot Parachute Team of former Navy SEALS parachute jumping into Lord Fletcher’s Wharf and landing in Lake Minnetonka. Lord Fletcher’s owner, Bill Naegele, joined actor and Minnesota native, Kevin Sorbo, to express their support for Minnesota service members and their families and to dedicate the recently remodeled wharf to Minnesotans who have served. MMAF Chair, Roger Sit, presented a grant to Navy Electrician’s Mate Third Class Curtis Meriam, of Minneapolis. EM3 Meriam thanked those in attendance for supporting Minnesota service members and their families. Proceeds from the event were donated to MMAF and totaled nearly $5,000.


Military Appreciation Day, Minnesota State Fair

MMAF took part in the Minnesota State Fair’s annual Military Day on Tuesday, August 29. Service members and veterans had reduced admission to the Fair, which was a factor in the crowd of 134,952 attendees on Military Day. MMAF gave away hundreds of “Thanks” pins and MMAF-branded cell-phone wallets, in addition to postcards on how to apply for a grant or make a donation. Thank you to the many service members who stopped by to learn more about MMAF’s mission or to share their appreciation for receiving a grant


Minnesota Twins Armed Forces Appreciation Day

The Minnesota Twins and MMAF recognized four grant recipients during Armed Forces Appreciation Day at Target Field on Sunday, September 10. MMAF Steering Committee member and Air Force veteran, Staff Sergeant Zach Husted, awarded grant checks as part of the pre-game festivities. Grant recipients included Purple Heart recipient and Army Sergeant First Class Tim Knoblach, of Hastings, and Sergeant First Class Joshua Wiemann of Princeton.  Thank you to the Twins organization for providing a platform to raise awareness for MMAF and their long-time support.


Tomahawk POCI Car Shows

The Tomahawk Chapter of Pontiac-Oakland Club International held car shows on May 14 and September 16 at Route 65 Classics in Ham Lake. Proceeds from the classic car shows were donated to MMAF totaling over $3,000. Thank you to Mark Boyum and the many members of the Tomahawk Chapter for their support of MMAF!


Minnesota Vikings Games

In addition to the monetary support the Vikings organization provides to MMAF at its annual appreciation dinner, the Vikings and their season ticket holders continue to donate tickets to MMAF, allowing for hundreds of MMAF grant recipients and their families to attend games. Thank you to the Vikings for their long-time support and for providing great experiences for our grant recipients and their families.