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Bong Center programs honor, gift veterans

This holiday season, honor a military member of the family or bring holiday cheer to local veterans at the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center, 305 Harbor View Parkway.

Our Heroes Tree has been on display at the center since 2013. It honors military members who have been deployed to overseas combat operations or domestic duty stations in support of foreign conflicts and those deployed in support of national and international disaster relief missions.

Anyone is welcome to place a handmade ornament featuring their veteran on the tree. It should include a picture, name and military information. They can also write a memoir about their veteran to place in the journal beside the tree. Both ornaments and entries will be kept and displayed from year to year.

The tree is sponsored by the center, Lake Superior Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Richard I. Bong American Legion Post 435.

Gifts for veterans

For the 12th year in a row, gifts for residents of the Silver Bay (Minn.) Veterans Home will be collected at the center.

"The donation program started as an outreach program from the Bong Book Club and has grown from there," said Hope Swenson, center volunteer. "It has continued to be well received by the community."

Donations will be accepted at the center through Dec. 18. They can be placed in the box located in the lobby. The gifts should be unwrapped, and you donors may include their name on the gift or donate anonymously. Suggested gift items include shaving and other personal care supplies, blankets, socks, T-shirts, sweatpants, stationery items, stamps, books, magazines and DVDs.

"Each year the residents of the Silver Bay Veterans Home are very grateful for the donations provided by the many volunteers and staff at the Bong Center," said Ward Wallin, volunteer program administrator for Silver Bay Veterans Home. "We have enjoyed a great working relationship over the years and your dedication to our nation's heroes has been outstanding."

The program is supported by the center, Bong Book Club Richard I. Bong American Legion Post 435 and its auxiliary.