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UMD H.E.R.O.S. Scholarship Fundraiser

Three Flags
August 7, 2017

Minnesota Veterans for Progress is hosting a fundraiser on Sept. 14 to benefit the UMD H.E.R.O.S. fund.

Minnesota Veterans for Progress logoOn Thursday, September 14, Minnesota Veterans for Progress will host a fundraiser to benefit the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) Commander David R. Wheat Higher Education Returns Opportunities Scholarship (H.E.R.O.S.) fund. The event will be held at Grandma’s Sports Garden, 425 Lake Avenue South, Duluth, from 5-8 pm

Cost is $15 per person and includes a spaghetti dinner. Tickets will be available at the door or at UMD, 315 Kirby Plaza (8 am-4:30 pm, Monday-Friday).

KBJR’s Dan Wolfe will serve as the master of ceremonies for the event. There will be a silent and live auction. All proceeds with benefit the UMD Cdr. David R. Wheat H.E.R.O.S. fund.

Also at the event, a military “Commemorative Challenge Coin” – the Cdr. David R. Wheat Challenge Coin – will be sold. This is a numbered limited edition coin; only 1,000 coins have been struck. The cost is $10 per coin. Proceeds will benefit the UMD Commander David R. Wheat H.E.R.O.S. fund.

About the H.E.R.O.S. fund
The UMD Commander David R. Wheat Higher Education Returns Opportunities Scholarship (H.E.R.O.S.) provides academic scholarships and fellowships for UMD students who are military veterans, active duty service members, National Guard, or Reservists.

Each year, the H.E.R.O.S. Fund selection committee comprised of veterans, awards student scholarships based on a variety of factors, including financial need and academic commitment. Scholarships are open to UMD students in any military branch and academic field of study.

The vision for this scholarship fund was initiated by UMD staff member Rick Smith and his wife Dianna. They wanted to demonstrate their deep appreciation for the men and women who serve. With support from people in the community, the fund will increase to impact more military students’ lives.

About Commander David R. Wheat
The UMD Commander David R. Wheat H.E.R.O.S. Fund is named in honor of a UMD alumnus who served our nation at great personal sacrifice. LTJG David R. Wheat had completed 80 successful missions as a Radio Intercept Officer before the unforgettable day of October 17, 1965. The F4B Phantom fighter jet he flew in was shot down over North Vietnam, and Wheat was taken captive.

Enduring seven years and four months – 2,675 days – of isolation and torture in numerous Prisoner of War camps, including the Hỏa Lò Prison, Wheat never divulged U.S. military information to the enemy.

Surviving as one of the longest held POW’s in North Vietnam, Commander Wheat’s day of freedom finally came on February 12, 1973 when he was released and returned home to Duluth. He continued his service in the U.S. Navy and retired in 1984 as a Commander and pilot. Wheat earned the Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal, Combat Action Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. Prior to joining the military in 1963, Commander Wheat graduated from UMD with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Education.

About Minnesota Veterans for Progress
Minnesota Veterans for Progress (MVP) supports veterans, military service members, and their families, through education, advocacy and reconciliation. MVP is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization incorporated on May 24, 2006. The organization educates members and the public about veteran’s issues and supports initiatives and projects that address veteran’s needs. It also advocates for veteran’s issues, causes, and programs.

For more information, contact Rick Smith, director, American Indian Learning Resource Center, 218-726-6293,