by By Jacqueline Callens, 2013 NRA Youth Education Summit Participant –
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Imagine approaching your committee’s Friends of NRA banquet night with nearly zero expenses, where dinner for attendees and every item on the auction was sponsored. Sound unrealistic? Although there has been an undeniable economic downturn with COVID-19, there has been an upturn in support for Southwest Minnesota Friends of NRA. The area rallied in support for the Second Amendment, resulting in their most successful banquet to date in 2020.
“The turnout from our banquet in August 2020 really speaks volumes of the support for the Second Amendment, especially when people can see it directly in their communities. Whether it is funding for local high school trap leagues, 4-H groups, or other clubs,” stated Travis Madden, a Southwest Minnesota Friends of NRA committee member. “People can see first-hand where their contribution goes, and that has allowed support for the banquet to grow.”
“Even though hard times may have been brought on by COVID-19, people are still willing to give to the cause,” asserted another committee member, David Callens. “It is a strong testimony to American’s love of the right to bear arms, and it was evident at this event.”
The Southwest Minnesota banquet safely accommodated around 225 guests, and every auction item was sponsored. Dinner was donated by a privately-owned venue, adding to the display of generosity during the pandemic. Moreover, the individuals that came to the banquet displayed American’s willingness to sponsor Friends of NRA and the work they accomplish. In the past three years, the small farming community in southwest Minnesota has raised an extremely impressive number of nearly $250,000 net dollars for shooting sports through this Friends of NRA banquet.
Julia, a fourteen year old girl volunteering with the committee to host the event, has been a first-hand recipient of Friends of NRA funds. She participates in both the trap league and 4-H shooting sports programs that receive grants from The NRA Foundation, funded through Friends of NRA fundraising.
Her first exposure to firearms wasn’t from the news, but rather her own, positive experiences. Her pathway to responsible gun ownership is fostered through the Friends of NRA.
The future of the Second Amendment belongs to the next generation. Net funds from Friends of NRA go towards promoting shooting sports. “Half of the proceeds are granted at the local level, fueling grassroots programs that exercise our Second Amendment freedoms. The other half fund similar programs at the national level. Attending a Friends of NRA banquet leaves a legacy for others, as it promotes the celebration of the Second Amendment through real-life experiences. Shooting sports preserve a culture of responsible gun ownership, and Americans who attend Friends of NRA banquets believe in this.
In a world where hugs are deemed dangerous and job roles revised, it was refreshing to see one thing is unshakable, the support of the Friends of NRA program. As Chris Moede, committee member aptly affirmed, “It is about the Second Amendment; it is about the Constitution.” Americans love the Second Amendment. It is a right worth protecting, and a right worth celebrating. And, as this Minnesotan community demonstrates, there is no better way to celebrate this special Amendment than by supporting the Friends of NRA.
To find a Friends of NRA event near you, please visit friendsofnra.org/events