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Moondance Jam Army raises money for Hometown Proud

by Dean Morrill, Editor
The Pilot-Independent

Friday, July 19th, 2002

The recruiters were out in full force to sign up recruits for the Moondance Jam Army.

Even though they didn't hit the target of raising $10,000 to support Operation Hometown Proud, Bill Bieloh said Moondance Jam will continue the push to raise the money before the year ends.
Bieloh, Moondance Jam's Army Chief of Staff, said more than $4,000 was collected during the four-day campin' and jammin' festival. More than 200 people signed up as recruits, privates, second lieutenants, captains, majors, colonels and generals.

"We were a little disappointed in the gross, but I don't think people really knew what it was all about," said Bieloh. "We didn't really get the stage time I really wanted to promote it to the jammers."

Money collected at the Jam support Operation Hometown Proud. Operation Hometown Proud started July 4 and supports 2001 Walker-Hackensack-Akeley High School graduate Private First Class Neil Nelson and B Company, 1st Battalion, 505 Infantry Parachute Regiment of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, N.C. The Walker American Legion adopted Bravo Company to support them while performing their mission overseas. The battalion has been mobilized to fight the War of Terrorism in Afghanistan for six to nine months.

The red, white and blue theme at Moondance Jam 11 also included a fly-by of two F-16s from the Duluth Air National Guard and a video highlighting area men and women who are serving their country in the Armed Forces.

Bieloh said he got a tremendous response from people on the fly-by and the video. The video, produced by Walker's Mike Gardner, will be live fed on the site, and will be copied and given to the family of the service members featured.

Bieloh, who was standing on the stage at the time the two F-16s did their second pass and turned on their after burners, said the 40,000 pound stage shook.

Through local contributions to Bravo Company, Walker and surrounding hometowns will be able to share their pride for every Hometown Hero. Groups interested in adopting a squad of soldiers (12 to 14) can call Kelly or Jeanne Nelson at (218) 547-2222.