In the fall of 2013 we discussed organizing a goose hunt for Disabled Veterans – In January 2014 the planning and fundraising began and in September we had a very successful hunt with 20 Disabled Veterans and we soon started the planning for the next years hunt.
In 2015 a Board of Directors was organized and the official name “Middle River Disabled Veterans Goose Hunt” began. We again had a very successful hunt with 27 Disabled Veterans participating. The local community financial & volunteer support was tremendous.
In 2016 we decided to serve, in addition to our signature event, “The Disabled Veterans Goose Hunt”, any, and all Veterans with outdoor recreation opportunities. To that end, the official name “Middle River Veterans Outdoors” was incorporated in the state of Minnesota and a legal 501(c) (3) non-profit status was obtained. We initiated the process of designing a logo/letterhead and a brochure for distribution throughout the state, along with that, a website is in the works.
Also in 2016 our fundraising has allowed us to purchase two small enclosed trailers to transport decoys and blinds to the fields. We had outstanding support from local manufacturing companies and businesses and the “Disabled Veterans Goose Hunt” went very well considering the wet conditions and mud in the fields.
In 2017 we have been working very hard on organizing events, putting together our brochure, getting a website built, fundraising plan to support our expanded organization, and planning for building a storage shed for our equipment.
On March 13th, 2017 we did a trial run on an ice fishing trip to Lake of The Woods, we had 11 Veterans participate along with 5 board members. The comraderie was great, all our guests were very appreciative and we gained some insight to help us plan future events. This year we also initiated a 3 day summer fishing event on Lake of The Woods with charter boats & guides and a “Youth Waterfowl Hunt” with plans to make these annual events.
2018 Was an extremely busy year – we received special donations to build a 30 by 40 foot storage shed which was constructed by all volunteer labor and finished in August. We also received a donation of a new “Duck Boat” with trailer and “Mud Motor” from Backwater Marine. We added two more events – a “Ladies Ice Fishing” and partnered with Options RCIL to include up to four veterans in their annual “Deer Hunt” for disabled persons on Rydell Refuge.
Also in 2018 courtesy of “Norskids Foundation” and “Norskies Hockey”, we received free tickets and special recognition for two Hockey Games in Thief River Falls. We started the planning for a special deer hunt on private land for 2019. In October we submitted a grant request to MN Dept of Veteran Affairs for $20,000.00 to purchase a tracked wheelchair for use by disabled veterans at various events.
In January of 2019 Jason & Wayne traveled to St. Paul for a meeting with MN Dept of Veteran Affairs concerning the grant request that we submitted – we feel that they were impressed with what we do and the grant was subsequently approved. We received the chair in April and used it 10 times during the year. We continued our quest to provide “Deer Hunting”, we requested permission from MN DNR to do a special hunt in October and were approved. We also obtained exclusive hunting rights for our hunt on about 3500 acres of private land. We constructed a heated “Deer Stand” specifically for wheelchair use and purchased two standard portable ground blinds.
Every year since our beginning has been very successful with 2019 being no exception in that we served 122 veterans and 54 veterans family members.
2020 began with one of our ice fishing events canceled because of a blizzard and then the Government restrictions perceived to stop the Covid-19 flu virus was initiated – in July we decided to cancel our summer fishing event and then in August we canceled the remainder of this years events. This year we constructed a portable wheelchair accessible deer stand and with a grant from “Home Depot”, are planning to build two more next year. At our October board meeting we started the budget and planning process for 2021. In December we received a second Tracked Wheelchair donated by a generous local “Small Business” company.
The officers of this organization are;
Chairman & CEO: Jason Cervantes, Ph 218-686-0889,
Vice Chairman: David Myhrer, Ph 218-449-3865,
Finance Officer: Elroy Aune, Ph 218-459-3378,
Secretary: Wayne Kilen, Ph 218-686-9114
Our e-mail is: email@example.com