Warroad's Meet and Greet Was a Fine Wine and Dine
October 22, 2022
by Jeff Olsen
At the Warroad American Legion a week ago Thursday, approximately 65 veterans were treated much better than they'd had it in basic training.
Or, out maneuvers where the standard grub in the 1960s and early 1970s were cold C-rations and maybe you got lucky and didn't end up with a can of ham and lima beans.
One old veteran who did not make the meeting asked Val Bernat, "Did they feed you?"
The old Army Lt. Colonel snapped right back, "Did they feed us! Hey, prime rib, baked potatoes, juice, green beans, cole slaw, and fresh buns. Then, the Roseau VFW Auxiliary did an apple dessert ala mode. It was top notch," he said last Friday.
Who won the nicest prize?
"The best one was a Buddy Heater for your deer stand," said Mr. Bernat, who has no recollection of who won it.
"They didn't call my number, so I didn't pay attention anymore," he said, laughing.
It started at 5:30 with the social. At 6 p.m., they said a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance before the big meal.
Polaris had donated a number of items for the free raffle.
Staff from the Warroad American Legion prepared and served the meal.
A Happy Marty
"We had a wonderful turnout of veterans, and we had some great conversations about veterans benefits, and I got a few appointments out of the deal," said Roseau County Veterans Service Officer Marty Howes, a busy man with a full schedule.
But he's always happy to do more for area veterans.
"You want to reach out to every veteran you can, and every year it seems like I get a new veteran or two or three," he said at noon last Saturday from his office at the Roseau County Courthouse.
Howes feels great when veterans from way back to the Vietnam War era say, "You know what. I never knew that!"
Marty had just gotten off the phone with a veteran on Saturday, and the old vet had made an appointment to check on his benefits.
"He's going to come in, and we're going to take care of him," he said, adding that the PACT Act covers Gulf War vets who came into contact with toxins.
"There are 20 different diseases caused by exposure to toxins in Gulf War vets, but it also includes hypertension for those who served in Vietnam and Thailand.
His motto: "I'm going to file a claim for them. The worst the VA can say is no."
Howes, a fellow veteran, wants area veterans to know that he's here to assist them.
"It's not a government handout. It's compensation for damages that were done to veterans in the line of duty. It's something that you've earned."
At Thursday's Meet and Greet, Marty also informed those applicable veterans about the 911 bonus.
"That's the war bonus for those who served in the military during the time period from September 11, 2001, to August 2021."
Addressing the older veterans, Russ Sparby explained the supplemental coverages for Medicare.
Next year, the annual Meet and Greet get-together will be in Greenbush.
"Had a great time and can't wait for next year!" said Marty Howes, who's been the Roseau County Veterans Service Officer for 8 years.