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Post earns national, state awards

Photo by Brian Hansel Charles "Chuck" Venzke and his wife, Janice, hold national and state awards which Elmer Goche Post 3922 in Wadena earned for service to rescue workers, storm victims, volunteers, National Guardsmen and security personnel.

22 has been recognized by the national and state organizations for their efforts following the June 17, 2010 tornado in Wadena.

The national award, which is very rare according to former VFW commander Charles "Chuck" Venzke, is an Award of Merit for community service special project entry "Tornado Disaster Recovery Assistance."

The Wadena post also received the 2011 Outstanding Community Service Project award from the Department of Minnesota. The award recognizes the post's outstanding to Wadena area tornado victims and states "Their efforts exemplify the 'heart of the VFW' through community service."

The report which prompted the national award states that for 11 ½ days after the tornado Post 3922 fed approximately 11,500 hot meals, both at the post and in the field. The post exhausted its inventory of food but vendors opened a line of credit to keep food flowing. The post membership turned in 2,600 volunteer hours.

Donations of financial assistance to pay for the food came to $10,155.91. The post spent $5,334.48 for food and related supplies. They distributed the rest of the funds to the Wadena Disaster Fund, the Wadena-Deer Creek High School library and the Wadena Area Chamber of Commerce.

"The best and most appreciated thanks we received were from the citizens of our great community and all the visitors that passed through during and after the storm," Venzke said.