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Andrea Domaskin, Published July 28 2007

Families of killed soldiers to gather

Families of North Dakota military members killed in Iraq or Afghanistan form a close-knit group, Shirley Fettig said.

The Dickinson, N.D., woman, whose son, Jon Fettig, was killed in Iraq four years ago, is organizing the second annual camp-out for these families.

They will gather Aug. 3 and 4 for camping and potluck at Fort Lincoln State Park south of Mandan, N.D.

“Yes, we can get together, talk, cry, but it’s going to be a fun weekend, also,” Fettig said.

Fettig said she sent out about 60 invitations for the event and has also invited North Dakota Patriot Guard riders.

Besides the now-annual camping trip, many of these families attend a survivors program in Washington, D.C., Fettig said.

It’s put on by the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, better known as TAPS.

This year, Fettig also is planning to start a holiday dinner for the families.

Training available

First responders can receive free training next month on dealing with combat stress reactions of veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The session is designed for police and fire departments, emergency medical technicians, community workers and other service providers who will be in contact with returning veterans.

It’s planned from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Aug 8. at Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Moorhead, 1900 28th Ave. S.

The program is put on by the Western Area City County Cooperative, in partnership with the city of Moorhead and Clay County.

The cooperative held five sessions in June and plans six more in August, said Jason Thymian, an intern at the cooperative.

This will be the first program in Moorhead.

It will be led by Lt. Col. Susan Whiteaker of the 88th Regional Readiness Command Combat Operational Stress Control Team.

For more information, call (218) 736-0123.

Military day planned

A military appreciation day is being planned at Camp Grafton in North Dakota.

The event will be Aug. 4 at the military service club at the North Dakota National Guard’s training facility south of Devils Lake.

The event starts at 3 p.m. near the military service club, with free food, guest speakers, children’s games and a social.

Gov. John Hoeven; Sen. Byron Dorgan; Maj. Gen David Sprynczynatyk; Myra Pearson, chairwoman of the Spirit Lake Nation; and a Ramsey County commissioner are expected to attend.

A street dance will start at 7 p.m., with music by the North Dakota National Guard’s 188th Army Band.

The event is hosted by a military affairs committee of the Devils Lake Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by area businesses.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Andrea Domaskin at (701) 241-5556