Red Friday, the silent ‘thank you’
“I did serve three years for state active duty when North Dakota flooded and was really bad for those three years. And one of those years I did get a call at 10 at night and this was when I was a teacher at Maddock and they told me, ‘Hey, have your stuff down in Bismarck by midnight tonight.’ Because Minot was flooding so bad. It didn’t matter I had to teach the next day, it didn’t matter I had a basketball game to coach. I had to pick up my stuff and be down in Bismarck in two hours. And at that time I was gone away from my family and friends and what not, with no time to prepare for a full month. At first we did 18-hour shifts, sometimes we had 24-hour shifts because we just didn’t have the amount of soldiers needed. But if we didn’t run those 24-hour shifts, homes would have flooded and what not. So we did anything from dyke patrols to QRF - which is quick response force – which, if a house was flooding, we loaded up our semis and built levies before the water came. I did that three different years.” Mitch Strand, middle school teacher, veteran.
Within Mercer County there are more than 700 veterans currently residing here, along with the current young Mercer County blood moving up into the force as well. Their desire to serve their country brings them all together, even though it would be hard to find a large enough space to physically do so.
Red Friday is something that started out quietly, a decision that can be easily made each and every Friday supporting the men and women who are not only putting their lives on the line daily but also for the ones who are sacrificing time away from love ones.