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East Grand Forks shows its support at WDAY Honor Flight Benefit

It was a packed house at the Eagles Club on Friday night as people came to the WDAY Honor Flight Benefit for food, fun, and prizes!

The benefit was organized by Don and Betty Roberts, and they had plenty of ways for people to participate and give to the Honor Flight program.

The highlight of the evening was the big ticket raffle at the end of the night, where attendees were able to buy $5 tickets to enter raffles for one of the four big prizes of the night, including a high quality lift chair and a hand-crafted UND-theme cooler. There were many other fantastic items on the silent auction, as well as many items for which auction-goers could buy tickets and enter a drawing on.

Along with the auction and raffle items, the taco-in-a-bag free-will donation meal was a big success, thanks to meat donated by L&M Meats and chips donated by Old Dutch. Attendees were also able to purchase Tupperware items from Jen Hanson and Brianna Feil at the event, with 40 percent of those sales going to the Honor Flight program.

The Eagles was truly a  flurry of activity with everything going on, with a lot of people visiting with friends over their meals or heading to the silent auction to put in their bids. Don’s brother, Bert, acted as the emcee for the night, announcing their 50/50 drawings and letting people know when each section of the auction would be closing, as well as letting people know of any big announcements.

Two of these big announcements came from Mike Melby, Vice President of the Eagles Club and from Angela Carter, aka “The Rose Girl”. Each of them provided a special contribution to the Honor Flight program, as well as selling roses and providing volunteers for the night to make the event possible.

In his speech, Melby talked about the work that the Eagles Club has done to help those who have served in the military, police and firefighting and their families, including providing college tuition assistance to those who have had family members fall in the line of duty. He also shared how thankful he was to Don Roberts for his hard work to make Honor Flights possible for veterans.

The Eagles Club of East Grand Forks made a contribution of $1,000 to the program, and Melby announced that they wanted to partner with WDAY/WDAZ to make the benefit an annual event.

Don was overjoyed with the support given by everyone involved. He wanted to thank all of the workers who helped, all of the people that donated items, everyone who came out for the event, and the Eagles for hosting the event and providing their space for the benefit. “It’s right deep from my heart saying thank you to the East Grand Forks area,” said Don.

Don and Betty’s hard work, as well as the hard work of everyone involved, paid off, with the group being able to raise roughly $16,000 at Friday night’s benefit. “Everybody did such an awesome job,” said Don. Coupled with the $19,000 they were able to raise from donations prior to the benefit, they will be able to send 46 veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.

Don and Betty aren’t done yet, though. Their next event will be a pancake breakfast at the Ground Round on October 21, with a cost of $5. The breakfast will run from 8 to 10 a.m. and will offer sales of Honor Flights t-shirts for those interested. In addition to the breakfast, Don and Betty welcome donations to the Honor Flight program at any time. Those who would like to contribute can call them at 701-746-8261.


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