MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Ahead of the fourth of July, many locals are spending the weekend honoring those who serve our country.
The day started with an intimate family event, Military Appreciation day at the Children Museum of Southern Minnesota.
Active duty service members and veterans had free access to enjoy the features of the museum and see Raptors – presented by the Minnesota Raptor Center.
"I think especially this time of year especially as we get close to the Fourth of July those contributions of our service members are always near and dear but it really brings it close to mind as we celebrate the Fourth of July and our nation’s independence,” director of community impact Sue Larsen said.
The meet and greet with the bald eagle and other raptors shined a spotlight on the symbolic animals.
“We have two staff from the Minnesota Raptor Center who are so knowledgeable about Raptors and are here to answer questions and really allow a great opportunity for children and families to get a really close up look,” Larsen said.
On the other side of town, the Mankato Brewery hosted the Corn hole for Heroes Fundraiser.
The event allowed the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans the opportunity to share their mission and raise money for homeless and veterans at risk of being homeless.
It was an afternoon filled with beer, music, raffles, food, and of course the corn hole tournaments.
Veteran, Sadie Rezac, the southern regional leader for MACV and the team she works alongside couldn’t think of a better way for comradery.
“People love drinking beer and then people love BBQ,” Rezac said.
This specific way of raising awareness is important in ending homelessness for veterans in the region.
“We are a grant funded organization and sometimes our grants only allow us to do so much, so we do fundraisers in order to raise money to fill the gaps where our grants don’t allow us to use that money,” Rezac said.
Sadie has done tours of duty oversees and says when soldiers come home they don't always know what benefits they're eligible for.
MACV hopes to continue raising awareness, one barbecue or corn hole tournament at a time.