CAMP RIPLEY – Families of fallen soldiers came together Aug. 23-25 at Camp Ripley to remember their loved ones and help each other with the healing process.
“We always keep our heroes on our minds and in our hearts, but when we are all together we get to share that memory and love, and cherish them,” said Merrilee Carlson, president of the Gold Star Family Weekend, Inc.
Families took part in games, tours and other fun activities such as canoeing and fishing during their stay on Camp Ripley. Everyone got the opportunity to experience the great things about the post and to take time to enjoy the weekend which was organized by the Gold Star Family staff.
A ceremony honoring fallen loved ones took place at the Hanger Conference Center on Camp Ripley, followed by a motivational concert by country music artist Rockie Lynne. The celebration continued throughout the evening with a dinner provided by the Serving Our Troops organization. At a camp fire families got to share stories and listen to environmental manager John Maile talked about the wildlife on Camp Ripley.
“I felt proud to be there for these families,” said Sgt. Bryan Pender, of the Camp Ripley Visitors Bureau. It was like I got a chance to be a part of a comrade’s life again, even if just for a moment.”
“We had a wonderful weekend. The Camp Ripley team was most excellent in meeting and responding to our needs! You made our families feel at home on the base allowing the camaraderie, fun, and sharing to go uninterrupted,” said Carlson.
The Gold Star Family Weekend takes place every year just before Labor Day. To contact or get more information about the Minnesota Gold Star Families go to: https://goldstarweekend.com/ or call Merrilee Carlson at 651-319-1194.