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Gun raffle to help build Veterans Memorial Park

This computer-generated image shows how the new Veterans Memorial Park will look. Construction is expected to begin next spring. (Drawing courtesy of Widseth Smith Nolting and Associates)

Another big fundraiser is in the works to help build a Veterans Memorial Park in Alexandria.

A banquet and gun raffle will take place at the Alexandria VFW Club on Saturday, Oct. 6.

People can purchase a ticket that includes a barbecued ribs banquet and the chance to win one of seven guns or other door prizes, such as a semi-automatic .22 long rifle, a diamond-stud earring and two half hogs.

Only a limited amount of tickets — 300 — are being sold, which increases the odds of winning a prize, according to Veterans Memorial Committee members Gabe Pipo and Russ Oorlog. Ticket holders do not have to be present to win. Tickets are available at the VFW or from individual veterans who are selling them.

The event will start at 4:30 p.m. with the meal, followed by a gun auction at 7:30 p.m. and door prizes and raffle at 9 p.m.

There will also be a silent auction featuring several items — a brand new guitar, a gun rest to use while cleaning firearms, bowls that were hand-turned by veterans and donated by Maj. Gen. Thomas Lightner, and more.

Anyone who wants to donate a gun or another item for the auction, with all proceeds going to the Veterans Memorial Park, may call Oorlog at 763-494-3576.

A gun fundraiser for the memorial this past June was a big success, raising more than $17,500. Pipo said the committee hopes to raise even more money at the Oct. 6 event.

Meanwhile, the committee is more than one third of the way toward its goal of raising $989,000 for the Veterans Memorial Park.

The project will place stone memorials containing the names of veterans past and present in what used to be known as Legion Park at the corner of Broadway Street and Eighth Avenue, east of Viking Towers.

Organizers have been collecting veterans' names and donations from the public and they plan to add more names from Douglas County Historical Society records. The goal is to inscribe all the names on 22 tablets, each measuring 6-and-a-half-feet tall by 42-inches wide.

The committee recently ordered the granite for the tablets. "We're still on track to start working on the site right away in the spring," Pipo said.

The park will also include flags, benches, a bell monument, a donor wall, military artifacts, a monument from the Douglas County Courthouse, a pictorial memorial of patriotic scenes and a picnic shelter with bathrooms and a playground.

All funds for the memorial are being raised through private donations or grants. For more information, email Donations may be sent to: Veterans Memorial Park, P.O. Box 733, Alexandria, MN 56308.

Al Edenloff

Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  

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