The Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center is once again hosting two free trips for veterans to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in Northern Minnesota this summer. With the COVID-19 pandemic cancelling the 2020 trip, the Center is able to offer a second trip this year. Trip dates are July 12 to 18 and July 26 to August 1. Applications are now being accepted and can be found on the BWCA Trip for Veterans page on our website.
This will be the third year and trips #4 and #5 that the Center has offered the trip for veterans that are disabled or dealing with PTSD and other specified traumas since 2018. “This is a great opportunity for us to provide support to the veterans that gives so much to us,” says Executive Director Dustin Heckman. “Veterans give so much to our local communities that we want to do our part to give back to them as well.”
There are many issues facing veterans today. In an effort to assist in healing and building healthy relationships within the community, the Center is offering these BWCA trips for veterans. Participants will enjoy a week of fishing, canoeing, and camping with fellow veterans. By bringing veterans into the wilderness away from noises and stress, the hope is it will help them heal, recover and just relax.
In order to educate the public, the Center relies on veterans to provide their stories and artifacts. We appreciate the trust veterans place in us to tell their stories and want to give back to the veteran community.
Duane Lasley, a retired Captain with U.S. Army from Duluth, went on the trip in 2018 and is now volunteering his time for the trip. He states, “I was fortunate enough to go on a past trip and it was an amazing experience. I am doing what I can to help others enjoy a similar experience.”
The Center will be taking a small group of veterans and two group leaders up to Ely MN, where they will spend a night at a local resort before heading into the BWCA the next day. All of the outfitting equipment will be provided for each participant. On the sixth day, the group will return to the resort before a return trip to Superior the next day.
Interested veterans can apply for the trip through the Center’s website at https://bongcenter.org/boundary-waters-canoe-area/ or stop by the Center for an application. Applicants wishing to be part of the first review of applications need to submit all materials by Friday, May 14. A final deadline for consideration is set for Friday, May 21 for those who miss the first review date.
Individuals, businesses, or organizations that are interested in donating towards this program may contact Executive Director Dustin Heckman at the Center.