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2015 Fundraising Dinner


2015 Appreciation Dinner

Michael Hurley

Former CIA Officer and National Security and Terrorism Expert

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Former CIA Officer and National Security and Terrorism Expert, Michael Hurley, highlighted a memorable night in support of our Minnesota service members on Wednesday, May 6, 2015. Mr. Hurley joined 500 other guests to show support for Minnesota’s service members and their families at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington. Efforts from the evening raised more than $500,000.

The evening began with a question and answer session moderated by MMAF Board Member Barry Winslow between Mr. Hurley and former CIA Officers Chris and Mary Welsh. This intimate session allowed some of MMAF’s largest donors the opportunity to hear about covert operations including the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

The evening’s main program was emceed by Tom Hauser of KSTP 5-Eyewitness News. Tom welcomed guests and provided a wonderful introduction to MMAF for those not already familiar with the organization. The 34th Infantry Division Honor Guard posted colors as choir members from VocalEssence, conducted by Philip Brunelle, sang the Star Spangled Banner and Armed Forces Medley. Chaplain Colonel John Morris gave an invocation and invited General John W. Vessey, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to the stage. General Vessey emphasized the fact that veterans’ organizations like MMAF are needed now more than ever. Roger Sit, MMAF Chair, updated guests on the progress the organization has made since inception in 2005 and reiterated that the mission of MMAF will continue until all Minnesotans have returned from hostile soil. Roger Sit then offered a short tribute to Avis Vessey, General Vessey’s wife of 69 years, who passed away days before the event.

After a short break for dinner, guests were introduced to Jim Redpath, father of an Army Special Forces Officer who has served three combat deployments.  Mr. Redpath spoke of how his youngest son, Jimmy, had been looking for direction in life and found it within the Army, a story in which many in the audience could relate. Mr. Redpath spoke with pride as he described the changes he saw in his son and the respect the others in his son’s unit had for Jimmy. Mr. Redpath offered a “thank you” to all of the parents of service members in attendance, along with all of those who had proudly served their country.

Tom Hauser then returned to the stage to introduce Major Jackie and Master Sergeant (Retired) Ron Stenger who shared their unique experience of raising two daughters who both serving in the military. Ron and Jackie both served deployments to combat zones and shared the plans they needed to have in place had they both been deployed at the same time, which fortunately never happened. In addition, the Stenger’s spoke of the varying emotions faced by their daughters when getting ready for deployment, deploying, and returning home.

The evening’s keynote speaker, Michael Hurley, addressed the crowd with his experiences as a Manager in the CIA who had already served a long career when the attacks of September 11, 2001 took place. Within weeks, his career path changed and led him to the mountains of Afghanistan where he was heavily involved in joint operations between the CIA and coalition forces. Over the course of three deployments to Afghanistan, Mr. Hurley cultivated local spies, gathered intelligence, met with warlords and endured weeks of bombing. He graciously shared pictures of his time in Afghanistan, showing jarring visuals of a landscape that seemed otherworldly to the guests in attendance. Upon returning to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Hurley directed the 9/11 Commission Counterterrorism Policy Investigation. Mr. Hurley expressed gratitude toward the coalition forces he encountered while deployed and indicated that it is still very important to show appreciation for those who deploy, as there are Minnesotans serving throughout the world in locations both known and unknown. The insight shared by Mr. Hurley is something that those in attendance will not soon forget.

As the main fundraising event for MMAF, we appreciate the individuals and corporate sponsors who gave so generously. One hundred percent of funds raised at the dinner went directly to MMAF, as event expenses were underwritten by the main sponsor, Sit Investment Associates.  

Thank you to everyone who attended the dinner or made a contribution to MMAF!

Leadership Tables - $25,000:

Donald E. Benson

Fritz and Glenda Corrigan

Federated Insurance

Beverly Grossman

Skip & Sarah Krawczyk

Pohlad Family Foundation

Debbie Sit & Peter Berge

Gail Sit

Roger & Michele Sit

Warren & Mary Lynn Staley

Contributor Tables - $10,000:

Deloitte & Touche

Michael & Elizabeth Gorman

Dorothy Ollmann

Raymond Sit & Tania Shih- Sit

Ron & Theresa Sit

Ralph Strangis

Thomson Reuters

TCF Bank

Barry & Sandy Winslow

Supporter Tables - $5,000:

Atomic Data

Doug Arndt

Dorsey & Whitney, LLP


Louis & Kathrine Hill

Jeff Julkowski and Killian Rieder


Roger & Nancy McCabe

Minnesota Vikings

Howard O’Connell

Opus Group

Patterson Companies

Robins Kaplan LLP

Roger, Irma, and Rachel Scherer and Stephen Imholte

TCI Capital

Twin Cities Business

US Bank

The Wealth Enhancement Group

Wedding Day Diamonds

Winthrop & Weinstine