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Local woman raises money for her fellow veterans

An area veteran is doing what she can to help raise money to support those who served in the Dickinson community.

"It's to support local veterans," said Brandy Vandersloot, accompanied by her children and nieces, who were enthusiastically selling hot chocolate and assorted baked goods to customers at Rosie's Gas Station on the southern part of town Monday, Jan. 15. "There are a lot of services that veterans can get but there are some gaps in that. An elderly or disabled veteran can't get snow removal, that's one we're trying to get help with."

Vandersloot comes from a long line of soldiers, her father and grandfathers serving in their time. She said she's a veteran trying to help other veterans.

"It's close to our family," Vandersloot said, noting that the Dickinson community is also keen to support their servicemen. "The community itself is very supportive of their veterans and very appreciative."

Vandersloot is working on a long-term goal of raising $10,000 by August in order to put on a fundraiser at the Eagles Club called "If Looks Could Kill." This fundraiser will be a beauty pageant-themed murder mystery dinner, dance, silent auction and bake sale. All proceeds go to benefit Southwest North Dakota Help for Heroes, a charitable nonprofit group seeking to improve the lives of veterans in southwestern North Dakota. The money raised provide basic support, food and medicine for area veterans.

"Emergency services such as food carts ... help with medication ... We're trying to go 'here, you're a veteran, thank you for your service"," Vandersloot said. "(Showing) that your community is supporting you."

Vandersloot will continue to raise money, saying she intends to do a new fundraiser each month leading up to August. For President's Day, Feb. 19, she and her kids will be visiting the Sunset Center to hold a soup luncheon.

"We want to make sure you're not forgotten. We want to do things like cheer bags for the nursing home."

Those interested in pledging money, volunteering or otherwise getting involved can contact Vandersloot directly via call or text at 701-495-4042 from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday. She can also be reached via email at brandyleavf@gmail.com.