Money for memorials: Frat fundraises for veterans to visit the capital

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BY LAURA GRIMM

grimmla@mnstate.edu

Kappa Sigma gave students a run for their money last Saturday.

The fraternity hosted the first-ever 5K for the Honor Flight on April 21, raising their goal of $1500.

“As (part of) our local philanthropy for our chapter, we decided on the Veterans Honor Flight of North Dakota-Minnesota because Kappa Sigma internationally has a strong focus on military heroes through their initiative the Military Heroes Campaign,” senior Kappa Sigma president Ryan Siems said. “We decided as a local initiative that we would support the Honor Flight as a way to give back to the community.”

Started in 2005, the Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that transports veterans for free to their memorials in Washington, D.C. There are chapters covering almost every state. The closest is the Veterans Honor Flight of ND/MN, which flies out of the Hector International Airport in Fargo.

“I had never heard of the program before, the Honor Flight,” sophomore participant Clara Derby said. “I never even considered that that was the idea—like wow, that’s really important.”

The 5K looped around campus, ending at the dragon statue in the campus mall. Even though it usually only blows fire during welcome week and homecoming, it was proudly lit during the race.

Siems began planning the service project as a requirement for the Dragon Leadership Program, which is how Derby found out about it.

“We have so many people in this area who have served, but a lot of them are rural farmers who don’t have a lot of money to get to D.C.,” Derby said. “I thought it was really touching that someone had addressed that. I wanted to be a part of it.”

Derby had wanted to run a 5K since her sophomore year of high school, so she jumped at the chance to get involved. She came in second for women behind President Anne Blackhurst.

With 27 pre-registered runners and a few walk-ins, members of both the MSUM community and Fargo-Moorhead area were involved.

“People in Fargo really love to run, so we thought it would be a great way to get the community involved to raise money,” Siems said.

However, getting the community involved proved somewhat difficult.

“The biggest challenge was getting the word out there,” Siems said. “People didn’t really seem all that interested at first, but we tried our hardest to get it posted everywhere we could. We know better for next year.”

Planning the event was also more work than expected. From mapping out the route to contacting city and campus leaders, Siems was involved every step of the way.

Although they may not have met their goal for participants this year, Siems seemed optimistic about the future of the event.

“We do think it’s going to turn into our signature spring event as our philanthropy,” Siems said. “So next April, be on the lookout.”

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