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Bill would help musically inclined soldiers

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen is hoping his new bill strikes a pleasant chord with members of the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Budget and Policy committee.

Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen is hoping his new bill strikes a pleasant chord with members of the Senate Agriculture and Veterans Budget and Policy committee.

Senate File 625 is Ingebrigtsen's request for a small amount of state funding to help a Fergus Falls non-profit continue to send musical instruments to deployed American soldiers.

Operation Happy Note began in 2005 when Steven and Barbara Baker of Alexandria sent a guitar to their son, who was deployed in Iraq.

The morale boost that instrument provided to their son's unit led the Bakers to start fundraising to buy and send more instruments to the unit.

Now into their third year, Operation Happy Note is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that has sent more than 2,600 instruments to troops.

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Ingebrigtsen's bill requests a $20,000 state appropriation that would seek matching funds. He said that amount will cover some of the cost of shipping the mostly-donated instruments.

"The request is tiny compared to the stress relief and mental release these instruments give to individuals that risk their lives for us every day," he added. "With the recent deployment of more than 1,000 Minnesota National Guard Red Bulls to Iraq, many for a second or third time, projects like Operation Happy Note are a small but heartfelt way to remind them that we are thinking about them."

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