Local VFW ‘adopts’ Crazy TroopAs a strong believer in supporting veterans and their families of all generations, Brandon Crotteau was among those instrumental in submitting an application to the Military Assistance Program (MAP) to become part of the Adopt-A-Unit program, requesting that the Hebert-Kennedy VFW Post 3979 “adopt” the Crazy Troop.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Anyone who ever thought the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is only for combat veterans from out of the past should talk with Brandon Crotteau. Crotteau, a 1997 graduate of Cloquet High School, enlisted in the U.S. Army National Guard in March of that same year. He is currently serving on active duty as part of the Cloquet-based Crazy Troop of the 1st Squadron, 94th Cavalry Unit -- and, he’s senior vice commander of Cloquet’s Hebert-Kennedy VFW Post 3979.
As a strong believer in supporting veterans and their families of all generations, Crotteau was among those instrumental in submitting an application to the Military Assistance Program (MAP) to become part of the Adopt-A-Unit program, requesting that the Post “adopt” the Crazy Troop.
On Tuesday, Crotteau received formal notification of the Post’s certification and confirmation for the program, which will more actively involve local VFW members in supporting military members in the community.
“As VFW members, we understand the challenges military families face because we've been there and can offer our knowledge and resources,” explained Post member Richard Chasse.
Essentially, the program involves developing supportive relationships with the Crazy Troop unit before, during and after deployments and providing direct support for the military members and their families.
Post 3979 Commander Gary Dahl said that while the Post has always played a supportive role with military members, this new relationship will hopefully take that a step further.
“It should help us get to know them more personally and become more involved in helping them out where they most need it.”
He said that will likely involve things such as fundraising, sharing information on benefits and resources available and providing direct assistance to families.
“Troops and their families always need support, not just during deployments,” added Chasse.
Crotteau knows firsthand just how important that is. He has been deployed overseas twice -- once to Bosnia in 2003-2004 and again to Kuwait in 2010-2012.
“This new program will give me a better sense of security,” he said. “Just knowing that someone will be there for my family if I’m not. It’s one step toward ensuring that our driveway will be shoveled if it needs it, or that child care will be available if an emergency need arises.”
The Post hopes that the benefits of the Adopt-A-Unit program will be reciprocal as well, encouraging more veterans from the younger generation, such as Crotteau, to join the VFW.
“I think that’s what the VFW needs,” said Crotteau. “They need to see more of the younger generation from recent wars. There haven’t been as many widespread conflicts as there were in the past, so the organization lost out on quite a few members.”
Dahl added he is optimistic that more of today’s military members will show an interest in becoming involved in the VFW.
“The plan is for them to someday take over the Post,” he said. “We need more young members to keep it going.”
Now that the “adoption” has been made official, Post 3979 plans to discuss the future relationship with Crazy Troop in greater detail at its Aug. 27 meeting. In the meantime, they’re already planning a public open house at the National Guard Armory on Saturday, Sept. 21. Crotteau said plans are to include a blood drive, coat drive and food drive, aimed toward supporting a local community organization.
“We want folks to come in, see what the Armory and our unit are all about, and help out with a good cause,” said Crotteau.
From here on out, the local VFW Post and Auxiliary will work one-on-one with the unit commanders and senior enlisted personnel of Crazy Troop to develop more supportive relationships with the unit.
“It’s a case of veterans from previous conflicts helping current vets,” said Crotteau. “That’s a very good thing.”