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Community involvement, partnerships bring Minot VFW Post honors

Eloise Ogden/MDN Trent Thomas, commander of Minot Veterans of Wars Post 753, holds the All-American Post Commander Award presented to him. The Minot VFW Post received a number of awards recently.

More involvement in veterans and community activities, partnerships and growing its membership have earned the Minot Veterans of Wars Post 753 a number of state and national awards.

The awards were presented at the VFW National Convention in Kansas City, Missouri, in July.

Post 753 received an All-American Post award “in recognition of the outstanding contributions made by the members of the post.”

Trent Thomas, commander of Post 753, said this is the second consecutive year the Minot Post has received the All-American Award.

Thomas was awarded the All-American Post Commander Award “in recognition of steadfast leadership in all VFW endeavors.”

The post was recipient of the Post of the Year for the state of North Dakota and Thomas was selected Post Commander for the state.

The post also received the 2021-2022 National Outstanding Community Service Award and had the top two recruiters for the state – Robert Meagher of Minot and Thomas.

“The All-American Award is established by the current national commander,” said Thomas. He said the national commander decides “what criteria has to be met in order to achieve the All-American status. It’s always membership – you have to grow your membership. It’s typically 100% plus one. We were 110% last year. We grew substantially last year.”

Thomas said for the first time in several years the Minot post went from 462 members to 517 members. He said the majority of members are from Minot.

He said work done that contributed to earning the Community Service Award included people donating blood and working at a soup kitchen.

“It’s whatever capacity you are giving back to the community as a veteran,” Thomas said.

Partnership events also are part of the All-American awards criteria.

“We teamed up with Pheasants for the Future and Hometown Heroes. Hometown Heroes takes first responders and military members into the outdoors,” Thomas said. “We had a very successful pheasant hunt last year that we did the second week of the pheasant season. The three organizations had so much fun we’re doing it again. This will be an annual event so we’re taking another 20 veterans pheasant hunting again Oct. 15 this year.

“It’s fun because the pheasant guys know where all the pheasant places are and Hometown Heroes finds the veterans. We make them some breakfast, pack them some lunches and we come back and have a spaghetti dinner that evening,” Thomas added.

Recruiting is another part of the All-American criteria.

“We worked very hard on it last year,” Thomas said. He said they were able to locate former VFW members and invite them to come back to the VFW Post.

“Another part of the All-American, which is awesome, is coming up again too. We always have the Patriot’s Pen and Voice of Democracy. They’ll be due again Oct. 31. We’re going to give away like we did last year. We give away $1,000 for each program so $500, $300, $200 for first, second, third,” he said.

Patriot’s Pen is a VFW essay contest, and Voice of Democracy is the VFW’s scholarship program.

He said this year they also will be bestowing a Teacher of the Year honor, with the recipient to receive $500. Entries are due Oct. 31.

For more information about the Patriot’s Pen, Voice of Democracy and Teacher of the Year programs, visit the Minot VFW Post 753’s Facebook page.

This summer the VFW took part in Korean War and Vietnam War remembrance ceremonies held at the Dakota Territory Air Museum in Minot.

“We’re also getting ready to do the Veterans Day Program,” Thomas said.

A remodeling project has been completed at the VFW Club, located on the east side of Minot. A patio and new entryway were added to the lower level of the facility, along with accessibility for handicapped.

After two consecutive years of the Minot VFW Post receiving the All-American Award, Thomas said, “We’re going to work hard and do it for the third year.”

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