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Fargo entrepreneur, Medal of Honor winner among State of the Union invitees

FARGO, N.D.-- A laid-off steelworker, a Medal of Honor recipient, a digital-media entrepreneur, a leader in the Twin Cities Muslim community and the founder of an agency that helps runaway and homeless youth will watch President Barack Obama's St...

Greg Tehven
Greg Tehven emcees one of the 1 Million Cups Fargo entrepreneurial events held Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at the Plains Art Museum in Fargo to connect entrepreneurs with local business leaders. (Dave Wallis / Forum News Service)

FARGO, N.D.-- A laid-off steelworker, a Medal of Honor recipient, a digital-media entrepreneur, a leader in the Twin Cities Muslim community and the founder of an agency that helps runaway and homeless youth will watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday in Washington as guests of members of Congress who represent North Dakota and Minnesota. Greg Tehven, executive director and co-founder of Emerging Prairie in Fargo, was invited by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. "I feel really undeserving. I'm excited. I'm honored," the Fargo man said. "I really didn't understand the magnitude of it. I kind of thought it was a watch party, a viewing party with him. I didn't realize it was in Washington, D.C." Tehven's company uses digital media to highlight startups, technology and innovation, and support entrepreneurial activity through initiatives such as Drone Focus, the Prairie Den co-working space and 1 Million Cups, a program to engage and connect entrepreneurs. "A healthy economy is dynamic and innovative," Hoeven said. "We need to maintain the right kind of pro-business environment that we worked for more than a decade to create in North Dakota."
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said his guest will be Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, a Medal of Honor winner. In May 2009, Romesha's unit was sent to Combat Outpost Keating in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan. On Oct. 3, 2009, the outpost was attacked by Taliban fighters who captured an ammunition depot. Under heavy fire, Romesha reconnoitered the area, sought reinforcements and helped his force regroup, despite being targeted by a sniper. Romesha organized a counterattack to retake the depot and neutralized an enemy machine gun team. Then, despite being wounded, he directed air support that killed at least 30 Taliban and he took out several Taliban positions himself. He also provided covering fire for wounded troops and recovered several American casualties under fire. Romesha earned the Medal of Honor for his actions. Romesha left the military in 2011 and moved to North Dakota. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., invited her sister, Melanie Heitkamp. Melanie Heitkamp is executive director of YouthWorks, which helps runaway and homeless youth, and works to prevent them from getting involved in human trafficking. The agency has offices in Fargo and Bismarck. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., invited Dan Hill, a laid-off United Taconite steelworker. Hill has spoken out about the ore and steel crisis brought on in large part by illegally subsidized steel imports flooding the U.S. market. He has urged the Obama administration to take action, Klobuchar said. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. invited Abdirahman Kahin, the owner of Afro Deli restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul and a prominent member of the Twin Cities Muslim community. Rep. Collin Peterson, the Democrat representing Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, donated his ticket to Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, so that the congressman could invite both parents of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, a Peterson spokeswoman said. FARGO, N.D.-- A laid-off steelworker, a Medal of Honor recipient, a digital-media entrepreneur, a leader in the Twin Cities Muslim community and the founder of an agency that helps runaway and homeless youth will watch President Barack Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday in Washington as guests of members of Congress who represent North Dakota and Minnesota.Greg Tehven, executive director and co-founder of Emerging Prairie in Fargo, was invited by Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D."I feel really undeserving. I'm excited. I'm honored," the Fargo man said. "I really didn't understand the magnitude of it. I kind of thought it was a watch party, a viewing party with him. I didn't realize it was in Washington, D.C."Tehven's company uses digital media to highlight startups, technology and innovation, and support entrepreneurial activity through initiatives such as Drone Focus, the Prairie Den co-working space and 1 Million Cups, a program to engage and connect entrepreneurs."A healthy economy is dynamic and innovative," Hoeven said. "We need to maintain the right kind of pro-business environment that we worked for more than a decade to create in North Dakota."
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., said his guest will be Army Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, a Medal of Honor winner.In May 2009, Romesha's unit was sent to Combat Outpost Keating in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan.On Oct. 3, 2009, the outpost was attacked by Taliban fighters who captured an ammunition depot. Under heavy fire, Romesha reconnoitered the area, sought reinforcements and helped his force regroup, despite being targeted by a sniper. Romesha organized a counterattack to retake the depot and neutralized an enemy machine gun team. Then, despite being wounded, he directed air support that killed at least 30 Taliban and he took out several Taliban positions himself. He also provided covering fire for wounded troops and recovered several American casualties under fire. Romesha earned the Medal of Honor for his actions.Romesha left the military in 2011 and moved to North Dakota.Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., invited her sister, Melanie Heitkamp.Melanie Heitkamp is executive director of YouthWorks, which helps runaway and homeless youth, and works to prevent them from getting involved in human trafficking. The agency has offices in Fargo and Bismarck.Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., invited Dan Hill, a laid-off United Taconite steelworker.Hill has spoken out about the ore and steel crisis brought on in large part by illegally subsidized steel imports flooding the U.S. market. He has urged the Obama administration to take action, Klobuchar said.Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. invited Abdirahman Kahin, the owner of Afro Deli restaurants in Minneapolis and St. Paul and a prominent member of the Twin Cities Muslim community.Rep. Collin Peterson, the Democrat representing Minnesota's 7th Congressional District, donated his ticket to Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, so that the congressman could invite both parents of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan, a Peterson spokeswoman said.

Related Topics: FARGONORTH DAKOTA
Helmut Schmidt is a reporter for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead's business news team. Readers can reach him by email at hschmidt@forumcomm.com, or by calling (701) 241-5583.
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