Northern Division: Serving every county in Minnesota and North Dakota
Veterans gather at picnic

Veterans of all ages honored at picnic up north

Added on Friday, June 8, 2018

Recently The Salvation Army honored military veterans by inviting them to a free picnic in northern Minnesota at Northwoods Camp.

Picture of Donald MakalaAbout two dozen veterans attended the event, including Donald Makela (pictured), 79, who served in the Army at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

“Good food,” Makala said with a smile, while enjoying a plate of barbecued chicken, corn on the cob, and red potatoes.

Makela heard about the event after reading about it in the newspaper. He wanted to attend so that he could make connections with other veterans.

Picture of Ben WeinerHe accomplished that mission, rubbing elbows with other veterans like Ben Weiner (pictured), 45, an Army veteran and current member of the Minnesota National Guard. Since 2001, Weiner has been deployed to three active duty missions in Bosnia and Iraq.

“I’m glad (The Salvation Army) is doing this to honor veterans,” said Weiner, who attended the picnic with his wife and four kids. “I’m glad I could come out and be a part of it.”

Weiner is a longtime Salvation Army supporter. He’s been bell ringing ever since his college days in St. Cloud, and for the past five years he has helped veterans in need connect with The Salvation Army through his local veteran’s service office.

Picture of Ken HowesOne of the oldest veterans in attendance was Ken Howes (pictured), 83, who served in the Army from 1957–1969. He has been a fan of The Salvation Army ever since 1980, when he joined the advisory council at The Salvation Army in Fairmont. He later served as a Salvation Army disaster volunteer and, most recently, as an administrative volunteer for The Salvation Army’s planned giving department in Roseville.

“When you serve others in Jesus’ name, you receive joy,” said Howes. “This has been a fantastic (picnic). It’s been very well received.”

The Salvation Army has been devoted to serving veterans since World War I (watch video). Today we operate a myriad of veteran-specific programs that provide hope and healing to hundreds in the Twin Cities, Greater Minnesota, and North Dakota. The programs include short and long-term housing, basic needs assistance, rehabilitation, counseling, and more.

Please join The Salvation Army by volunteering or making a donation to support your local community.