Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund OKs $28,000 in grants

ST. PAUL — At the December 2020 Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust fund monthly meeting, the following grants were approved by the eight-member board of directors:

Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans was awarded $10,000 to be used as matching funds in its holiday fundraising partnership with WCCO-TV. The V4V Trust Fund organization will be recognized as a matching-fund donor during an upcoming WCCO news broadcast prior to year end.

Minnesota Veterans Homes
The five Minnesota Veterans Homes received $13,000 for the purchase of a nominal gift for the 1,270 employees in the Veterans Homes in appreciation for their dedicated efforts caring for our veteran residents during the 2020 pandemic. The V4V Trust Fund organization will be recognized as the organization funding these tokens of appreciation.

Zumbro Valley Health Center
The Zumbro Valley Health Center Inc. was awarded $5,000 as startup funds to help develop and deliver a program that will provide mental health services for veterans and their families. The services will include ongoing individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy and support groups focused on increasing mental health awareness, suicide prevention and treating symptoms of depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as other mental health problems. The first 12-week session is scheduled for early January 2021. Zumbro Valley Health Center is a nonprofit providing services to a 12-county area in southeast Minnesota.

The Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Trust Fund is a 501c(19) nonprofit organization established as the result of the 2006 sale of Lake Minnetonka Big Island Disabled Veterans Camp.

Today, that land, covering 56 acres on the eastern side of Big Island, is called Big Island Nature Park.

The eastern and western sides of the island were separated around 1900 when island resident Olaf O. Searle dredged a channel through a low-lying isthmus.

The nonprofit organization V4V has eight board members, two veterans each who are appointed by the DAV, VFW, Military Order of the Purple Heart and The American Legion.

The board oversees the funds from the sale of the island to the city of Orono and has a grant application process on their website. Grants are made to organizations serving Minnesota veterans in a way that conforms to the criteria the V4V has documented online at its website,

Past Department of Minnesota Commanders Don Pankake of Hutchinson Post 96 and Marland Ronning of Osseo-Maple Grove Post 172 represent The American Legion on the V4V board.

The water off the north side of Big Island is known for Fourth of July weekend revelry, but the island itself in recent years went through a restoration project to return it to its natural state. The city, the state and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District worked together on the project. The work involved halting erosion, removing buckthorn and clearing 150 tons of garbage.

The island was once home to an amusement park that opened in 1906. It closed in 1911 and dismantled in 1917-18 before being sold to the four veterans organizations. The veterans camp existed more than eight decades. V4V board members visit the island annually.