Veterans treated to boat tour of Lake Minnetonka

More than 20 veterans from across the Twin Cities enjoyed a June 21 excursion tour of Lake Minnetonka, which took them to many locations, including the former site of the Big Island Veterans Camp.

The veterans on the tour were from the Disabled American Veterans, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans or were from American Legion posts from around the Twin Cities.

The event was hosted by Tonka Bay Marina owner and former Orono Mayor Gabriel Jabbour, who has been taking veterans out on tours since the 1970s, and funded by the Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans fund. This summer they hope to take veterans out on three more excursions.

Minnesota Veterans 4 Veterans Chair Dean Ascheman said the nonprofit is funded by the 2006 sale of Big Island, where a veterans camp was located. The island was sold to the City of Orono and the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District after the camp became difficult to maintain.

Ascheman said that the City of Orono agreed in their purchase agreement to keep Big Island as a park preserve and allow it to be accessible to the veterans. Two Big Island docks were installed after the sale to provide accessibility.

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