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Jeff Frieson, the manager of the Bismarck Veterans of Foreign Wars Club, along with Mindy Frieson, a bartender there, are organizing a fundraiser to help veterans in need.

"The fact is that I couldn't serve (in the military)," Jeff Frieson said. "But I can do this to help those who did serve our country. We'll help any way we can, until all the money's gone."

Any veteran and their family, whether from WWII, Vietnam, Korea or Iraq and Afghanistan, is eligible to receive help, according to Frieson, who says the fundraiser is one way he can show his respect for soldiers.

"Anytime someone shoots a gun at somebody else to protect his own life and his country, he deserves respect," Frieson said.

With a father who served in WWII and a brother who served in Vietnam, Frieson says he has seen first-hand the difficulties, including PTSD, many returning veterans face.

"What hurt my brother most was that he enlisted with his best friend out of high school and he watched his best friend get blown up," Frieson said. "Soldiers go together, but don't come back together."

If a family has lost the husband or wife in the service and they need help with insurance payments, or getting their kids into college and paying for tuition,  Frieson says the VFW will use the money in those ways as well.

"If someone needs help, they can call us," Frieson said. "One gentleman I know needs an operation, but only so much is paid by the Veteran Affairs, and he has to go to Mayo Clinic to get it."

The VFW club's fundraiser begins at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 14 at the club, 1235 S. 12th St. in Bismarck. The event runs until the bar closes at 1 a.m.  

"The more money raised, the more veterans can be helped," Frieson said. "I hope all of Bismarck comes. I hope it's so packed that we're overflowing."

The public is invited, and families can bring their kids to play games. The adult beer garden will be separated from the kids and security will be available. Door prizes and gift packages will be given away.

"The most important thing is to raise awareness as to how much veterans have struggled and to help them in their need," Mindy Frieson said. "I think people don't know just how much of a struggle it is, how much coming back really impacts friends and family."

An admission fee of $2 will be charged at the door. 

By Faith Harron, Photo by Tom Stromme
Bismarck Tribune
Published July 27, 2015

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