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Guardsmen Bring Holiday Cheer to North Dakota Veterans Home - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Guardsmen Bring Holiday Cheer to North Dakota Veterans Home

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LISBON, N.D. - It would have been difficult to hear sleigh bells jingling over the laughter and excitement that filled the air today at the North Dakota Veterans Home in Lisbon.

Soldiers and Airmen with the North Dakota National Guard appeared at the home, delivering gifts and sharing a holiday meal with Veterans, demonstrating their appreciation to those who have served in the military before them.

Peter J. Lee, a resident of the home from Finland, N.D. who served in Korea as a member of the 25th Infantry Division, said it was wonderful that current Guardsmen were visiting.

"It's nice to see these guys," Lee said. "It's great to have younger Veterans come to visit us older Veterans. I'm really glad they came."

"We're always excited to be here," Maj. Gen. David Sprynczynatyk, North Dakota adjutant general, told Lee as they visited during lunch. "Between our visit and the care rendered by those who work at this great Veterans home, we hope you genuinely feel our appreciation for your service to our country."

Sprynczynatyk was one of nearly 20 Guardsmen who visited the Veterans throughout the day.

Together, Guards members and residents enjoyed a traditional Scandinavian holiday meal of lutefisk, meatballs, rømmegrøt, carrots, potatoes and lefse. After the meal, the Guardsmen handed out 128 gifts, one for each Veteran.

Annually, the state's Army and Air National Guard components alternate responsibilities in coordinating the event, which has taken place for more than 20 years thanks to the volunteer efforts and personal donations from Guard members.

This year's event organizer was Command Sgt. Maj. Harley Schwind, state command sergeant major for the North Dakota Army National Guard. It was the third time he planned the event and hopes to be able to continue his participation in the future.

"It's a truly superb event and a great opportunity to visit with our military heroes," said Schwind. "Showing our gratitude for those who have faithfully served our nation enhances our own holiday celebrations."

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