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Cash appreciation grants going to Minnesota vets and families of those killed in action

Cash appreciation grants from the Minnesotans’ Military Appreciation Fund will be given Friday to four Minnesota veterans and the families of four Minnesotans killed in action.

The nonprofit group raises money for state military members who have served in overseas combat since September 2001.

In a private ceremony at 10 a.m. Friday in the State Capitol Rotunda, the latest grants will honor:

Cpl. Benjamin Kopp, Rosemount, killed in action, served as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan with the 3rd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment based at Fort Benning, Ga. Cpl. Kopp was seriously wounded during a combat mission on July 10 and was medically evacuated through Landstuhly Regional Medical Center in Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center, Washington, D.C., where he later died as a result of his wounds July 18. Cpl. Kopp conducted two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. His family will receive a $5,000 grant.

Specialist Daniel Drevnick, Woodbury, killed in action. Served in Iraq with the 34th Military Police Company, 34th Infantry Division of the Army National Guard. Died July 16, 2009, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire. His family will receive a $5,000 grant.

Specialist James Wertish, Olivia, killed in action. Served in Iraq with the 34th Military Police Company, 34th Infantry Division of the Army National Guard. Died July 16, 2009, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire. His family will receive a $5,000 grant.

Specialist Carlos Wilcox, Cottage Grove, killed in action. Served in Iraq in the 34th Military Police Company, 34th Infantry Division of the Army National Guard. Died July 16, 2009, of wounds sustained when insurgents attacked his unit using indirect fire. His family will receive a $5,000 grant.

Cpl. Benjamin Mauser, Burnsville, Purple Heart recipient. Served in Iraq with the First Battalion, 7th Marines, as part of the U.S. 1st Marine Division from June to October 2004. CPL Mauser was injured on July 15, 2004, when he was hit in the face by shrapnel. He will receive a $2,000 grant.

Sgt. Alan Verly, Bloomington. Served in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps from August to December 2006. He will receive a $500 grant.

Specialist Peter Tellin, Spring Valley, served in Iraq with the A Company 834th ASB of the Army National Guard from August 2008 to May 2009. He will receive a $500 grant.

Specialist Brian Pevito, Coon Rapids, served in Iraq with the 353rd Transportation Company of the Army Reserves from October 2008 to July 2009. He will receive a $500 grant.

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Comments (3)

Appreciation grants given from 500 to 5000 dollars? Dead or alive, is that what establishes one military man's worth?

Yes, I'm trying to understand the perceived value of life here. Seems strange to me. Who is worth more or less?

Sacrifice is the hallmark here and there is certainly honor intended in the giving. But how do they gauge the value of one life... dead or alive...survivor or victim; reason for sacrifice, real or undefined? Is honor qualified on a scale of 1 to 10?

The words 'cash appreciation grant' do seem crass and inadequate to express what I think they are intended for. The Minnesota Military Appreciation Fund (MMAF) attempts, I think, to express appreciation to those people and families that give and sacrifice, beyond the recognition that is provided by federal government and agencies.

I'm sure the MMAF reps that decide how to distribute the grants must have great difficulty in deciding the details of their grant distribution.

To Beryl John-Knudson. It is Minnesota people giving thanks to other people in Minnesota for doing what they do for this country. Yes it is awful when someone dies in combat and yes they paid the highest dues for this country and everyone who has fought for this country has paid dues. Have you ?