Student fundraises for vets activities

ABOVE: Sydney Borntrager, a student at Martin County West, has raised nearly $11,000 for adaptive sports at the Sioux Falls Veteran Affairs Health Care System.

TRIMONT– Sydney Borntrager, a high school senior from Trimont, has raised nearly $11,000 for adaptive sports at the Sioux Falls Veteran Affairs Health Care System since last August.

Borntrager is the Honorary Junior President of the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota and attends Martin County West High School. She originally joined the junior auxiliary when she was seven years old because her grandfather, John Borntrager, served in the Air Force.

“I didn’t really know what it meant at the time but I stuck with it because as I got older, I learned what it was about and I always had a really close bond with my grandpa,” said Borntrager.

In 2018 and 2019 Borntrager raised $4,300 for the Minnesota Veterans Home in Luverne as a high school freshman. The money went towards the purchase of electronic music players which helped calm residents in the memory care unit. She considered fundraising projects in subsequent years but was unable to pursue them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now as Honorary Junior President Borntrager selected the Sioux Falls adapted sports program because of her experiences in the 4-H shooting sports program and the programs proximity to southern Minnesota.

“Although it’s not in Minnesota, a lot of our southern Minnesota veterans go there for their VA services because it’s closer than the Cities or Saint Cloud,” said Borntrager.

The program helps veterans with physical or mental disabilities participate in activities they are no longer capable of doing because of injuries sustained during military service. Veterans can participate in a variety of activities covered by the program, such as sports games, hunting trips and creative arts events. The program also organizes national events and tournaments as well as programming that happens outside the Sioux Falls area.

“This isn’t localized just in Sioux Falls, they also have multiple programs located at VAs across the county,” said Borntrager.

Most of the donations she’s collected has come from members of the American Legion and their families across the state.

Borntrager also received donations from individuals and local businesses. The money raised by Borntrager will go towards the adaptive sports’ general-purpose fund. The fund primarily helps pay for equipment but also covers other costs related to the activities.

After graduating high school later this spring, Borntrager will attend Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. She plans to major in Biomedical Science with the eventual goal of becoming a pediatric oncologist who would help develop simpler and less invasive treatments for children and teens with cancer.

Outside of 4-H and the junior auxiliary Borntrager is on Martin County West’s trapshooting, track and cross-country teams and dances for Dancin’ Plus in downtown Fairmont.

Borntrager will continue raising funds until the middle of July. Those interested in contributing can mail a check made out to “American Legion Auxiliary” with “For Honorary Jr President’s Project” in the memo line to Sydney Borntrager 230 Birch St W Trimont MN 56176. Any further questions can be addressed to sydneyborntrager@gmail.com.


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