Cocktail hour, dinner, and auction all please the crowd Saturday
On Saturday, April 2, the MSU Veteran’s Club hosted a fundraiser aimed at benefitting local veterans. The goal of the event was to raise funds to fix a broken elevator in the American Legion building, located in downtown Mankato, and thus make the building accessible to veterans with disabilities.
The fundraiser was hosted at the Mankato Event Center and was attended by a wide range of demographics, ranging from college students to senior veterans.
Derek Bakken, the president of the Veteran’s Club and one of the primary organizers of the event, emphasized that the club “really wanted to get out there and do something for the community.”
The three-part evening began with a cocktail hour from 6-7 p.m., during which guests were able to mingle over a few drinks. Following this, a delicious dinner was served by Charlie’s Restaurant, who catered the event. This dinner was then followed by a silent auction, which formed one of the main highlights of the evening.
Throughout the evening, guests were given the opportunity to bid on items that businesses had generously donated, with all proceeds going to the American Legion. Many local Mankato businesses offered up a variety of goods and services for bidding, with Bakken noting that he was “shocked by how supportive many businesses were.”
One generous business owner who got involved was Rod Bowman, manager of Riggs Roadside Assistance. As an ex-veteran himself, Bowman was more than happy to donate three roadside assist vouchers to the silent auction, valued at approximately $150. Bowman stated that he found the evening overall to be a very enjoyable experience, and was particularly pleased to see “a lot of young and old veterans uniting for a good cause.” He also noted that he was especially impressed with the willingness of “younger generations of veterans to help older veterans.”
Bakken noted that this event was primarily organized by himself and a couple of officers who had “never done something of this scale.” He found that while “the sheer magnitude of the project was surprising at times,” the turn-out to the event was a strong marker of its success. Bakken also found that despite the challenges of organizing the event, the club “had a lot of support from the community,” which greatly contributed to this success.
In the future, Bakken hopes the Veteran’s Club will be able to host many more successful events. He noted that one of the key challenges the Club encountered in organizing the event was getting students involved, and feels that the club could have taken “more steps to target the student population.” However, Bakken noted that the “event ended up having strong student representation there,” although he hopes that future events will be able to “reach even more of the student population.”
In reflecting upon the event, Bakken emphasizes that this experience has allowed the Veteran’s Club to do “more than we ever really thought we were capable of.” He is hopeful that this fundraiser marks the beginning of the Veteran’s Club taking a “much more active role,” both on campus and in organizing events, and that the MSU population will get behind the efforts of this fantastic organization.