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Honoring Our Military Past, Present and Future

May 21, 2018 03:42 PM

(ABC 6 News) - A special star-spangled sendoff for one Rochester man this weekend. 

Brendan Trahan knew from a young age he wanted to serve his country, and before graduating from Lourdes High School last year he decided he would join the Air Force. To show their support, his family and friends surprised him by lining their street with 50 American flags, to give him a send-off he'll never forget.

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"I was like did I miss some holiday or something like that," thought Air Force recruit, Brendan Trahan. "I was very confused and I saw everyone and I'm like this can't be. My buddy handed me my Air Force shirt and I'm like no way." 

Brendan says his uncle served in the Air Force and after looking at the program he decided that would be a good fit for him too.

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The V.A. estimates around 15 percent of veterans suffer from a post-traumatic stress disorder and each day around 22 veterans commit suicide. Here in our area, a high school student is doing her part to help reduce that number.

More than 70 people took part in a Run To Repair in Stewartville... running, jumping and sliding through obstacles while raising money for local veteran causes like Operation Welcome Home at Ironwood Springs Christian Ranch.

Southland senior Morgan Brown organized the event and says it's an issue she's seen the need to advocate for firsthand.

"So my uncle who has served and done nine tours has since then formed PTSD," said Morgan. "He still serves and he just shows such encouragement in everything he does it really has enlightened me to want to help veterans in my community."

Morgan says seeing the support from the community for veterans issues actually brought her to tears, and it means a lot to her personally as well.

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Another fundraiser for Operation Welcome Home this weekend took place at several area Hy-Vees. 

Some celebrity baggers, including our very own Laura Lee and Noelle Anderson, spent several hours bagging groceries at the four Rochester Hy-Vee locations. All with the goal of bringing veterans and their families together to heal.

"Minnesota is a non-active military state so there's not a base here where they have a community," explained Operation Welcome Home's Lou Kastler. "So what's really nice about Operation Welcome Home is it brings them together and they can work through any issues that they have."

Organizers say the program has helped around 4,500 veterans and their families over the past 10 years.

KAAL-TV

Copyright 2018 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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