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Say Thanks Day 2013


Say Thanks Day, Saturday September 13, 2013


Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund held its Annual Say Thanks Day event on Saturday, September 7, 2013 at the Boy Scout Base Camp at Fort Snelling. The 9th annual event included a 10K run, 5K run and two-mile walk. Two new aspects were introduced this year as well, as we welcomed the addition of a Kid’s Carnival and the Marine RECON Challenge which asked competitors to run 3 miles in under 18 minutes.  

Participants began arriving before 8:00 a.m. on a beautiful morning, with temperatures in the upper 70s and plenty of sunshine. As participants arrived and checked in, they were greeted by music from the Emerson Avenue Band and host of volunteers from Target, the David Martin Agency, TDS Inc. and the Harding High School Junior ROTC program. The event emcee, Tom Hauser of KSTP 5 – Eyewitness News, 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, a military band played moving renditions of Taps and the Star Spangled Banner. A flyover of vintage T-6 Texan aircrafts in missing man formation signified that the race was about to start. More than 400 runners moved to the Starting line at 9:00 to participate in the 10K run, 5K run and Marine RECON Challenge. A few minutes later, more than 250 walkers made their way to the starting line and began to walk the two-mile course, which was lined with American Flags.

While walkers and runners enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenic views, music from the Emerson Avenue Band filled the ears of those remaining at Base Camp. The rousing music provided a festive backdrop as the Kid’s Carnival games, including inflatables, giant Jenga and giant cup stacking began to fill up with kids of all ages. The climbing walls were filled with thrill-seekers looking to challenge themselves in a vertical endeavor.

When the runners and walkers had returned to Base Camp, Tom Hauser opened the post-race program with a brief history on MMAF and the reasons for Say Thanks Day, while MMAF Grant Recipient, Doug Lodermeier, presented MMAF with a check from the St. Louis Park American Legion. MMAF Chair Roger Sit gave a brief recap on the current grant totals and the important milestones MMAF has reached in the past year. Tom and Roger then invited MMAF co-founders Michael Gorman and Skip Krawczyk to the stage to award a grant check to a Minnesota service member. The group took pleasure in introducing Sergeant Trevor Friesen, of Plymouth and presenting him with a grant check to thank him for his service in Afghanistan. As the program continued, Tom announced the names of those who had won the door prize drawings, as well as both the men’s and women’s 5K and 10K run winners and the names of the two winners of the Marine RECON Challenge.

Following the program, all participants were invited inside of Base Camp to watch the Kid’s Carnival magic show from Alan Johnson. As each child left the magic show, they were presented with a tree sapling to be planted in honor of a service member. A  special thank you goes to Andrew Sit for organizing the Kid’s Carnival and the Boy Scouts of Troop 3124 for their assistance.

Thank you to each of our event sponsors: Sit Investment Associates, Federated Insurance, TCF Bank, The Wealth Enhancement Group, Nelson, Tietz and Hoye Inc, TDS Inc, Cub Foods and 7Up/Snapple. A special “Thanks” to the Northern Star Council Boy Scouts of America and Base Camp for allowing Say Thanks Day to take place at their beautiful location.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 9th Annual Say Thanks Day. We appreciate your support of Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund and look forward to seeing you again for our 10th Say Thanks Day event in 2014!