Helping hands: Soldiers serve at Hastings organization that benefits military families

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A group of soldiers from the Hastings, Rosemount, Northfield, Cannon Falls and Red Wing areas completed a community service project at United Heroes League in Hastings June 3.

"This was a great opportunity for them to really see the RSP mantra of 'We live here, we work here, we serve here,'" said Chris Blauert, a sergeant first class at the Minnesota Army National Guard.

There were about 85 soldiers participating in the service project. Five of those soldiers live or go to school in Hastings. The group began at the Hastings Armory where they lined up in groups. They marched from the armory to United Heroes League about 2.5 miles away.

"It's important to see that even the younger veterans are the ones doing service; but also, it's nice because we're not doing this for service credits or anything like that, we're doing this for the sake of doing service," said Gabby Hales, one of the soldiers at the event.

As part of their service project at United Heroes League, the group cleaned up the roadside, made a sand volleyball court for upcoming events, conducted trail maintenance to allow kids/wounded veterans better access to the area for activities, hauled lumber to the top of a hill so that a hunting stand can be built, fulfilled sports gear requests for military families and more.

United Heroes League provides free sports equipment, game tickets, cash grants and skill development camps to military families across the United States and Canada. Their goal is to keep military kids active and healthy while their parents serve the country. More than 40,000 military families have been helped so far.