WASECA — Two days of events will be held to honor Waseca native Caleb Erickson, who was killed in action.
The two-day event will also help raise money for community organizations.
“This area has been so willing to join forces and show how much they love and respect the veterans,” Caleb Erickson’s dad Barry Erickson said. “Other than Waseca, the folks in Faribault have adopted us, as their community has not had a war loss in several years. These two cities have truly joined forces to bring veteran issues to the forefront. Purposely, I have introduced many vets to one another, and when good minds get rolling, nothing can stop their ideas.”
Caleb Erickson graduated from Waseca High School in 2012 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps following graduation. He was killed while serving in Afghanistan.
Aug. 23 and 24 are filled with events to honor his memory.
The weekend will start off on Aug. 23 at 5:30 p.m. with a new event, Bingo at the Waseca American Legion. That same night retired Minnesota Viking Leo Lewis will also be at the Legion at the same time as Bingo for photo opportunities. There will be basket raffles and meat raffle drawings as well on Friday.
All of the raffle ticket winners for the baskets are going to be pulled before the ride takes off except for one called the, Caleb Basket, which will be pulled when the convoy returns and the winner must be present.
“We do the event, not only in honor and memory of Caleb, but he was the type of person who was willing to help anyone out whatever reason no questions asked,” Caleb Erickson’s mom Karla Madden said. “We feel that if we can help just one veteran, just one person, then that’s a success.”
From now through Aug. 24, a memorial glass will be available at the American Legion or starting Aug. 21 and going through Aug. 24 the memorial glass will be available at the Ward House Brewery. The Caleb Erickson memorial glass is $10 at both locations.
After receiving the news of Caleb Erickson’s death, his family — mom, dad and sister — all traveled to Dover, Delaware for his final return home so they could lay him to rest, but there was a snow storm that delayed his return. While waiting the extra day, Caleb Erickson’s family decided that his memory had to live on.
“As a family we decided to never let his memory die,” Barry Erickson said of how the annual event came to be.
The events will continue on Aug. 24 starting with the Caleb Erickson Memorial Workout at the Waseca Fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.
At the American Legion from 9 a.m. to noon Caleb’s Convoy Registration will take place with departure at 1 p.m. This is an all-wheels cruise with a cost of $25 per driver and $10 per passenger with lunch included or for purchase of $10 for people not participating in the convoy. Lunch will be at the American Legion starting at 11a.m. through departure time.
The first stop the convoy will make is at the Woodville cemetery and will continue a tour of the back country roads.
Before the convoy takes off there will be a Ruck from the American Legion to the cemetery starting at noon and meeting the convoy around 1 p.m. at the cemetery.
To finish off the night of Aug. 24 Peter Klug Music is performing from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.
All proceeds from the event will go to support local charities that are serving veterans. The goal for this year is to raise at least $30,000. Last year the goal was $25,000 and they were able to surpass it.
Operation: 23 to Zero, Invisible Wounds Project, Soldiers 6, Operation Battle Buddies, Flags for Vets, American Legion and the VFW will all receive donations from the Caleb Erickson memorial event weekend.
“Some of the veteran help groups who have grown since Caleb's Memorial Day began are: Operation 23 to Zero, Operation Battle Buddies, Flags for Vets, Waseca County Veterans Memorial,” Barry Erickson said. “Other groups funded by the Caleb Day are Soldier 6, Waseca VFW and Am. Legion relief funds, Invisible Wounds and Eagle's Healing Nest. Other community events include an annual 3 Legion ruck (walk), leaving Waseca Legion and meeting the Faribault group in Morristown and Memorial day vigil outside the Waseca courthouse.”
For more information check out the Caleb Erickson Memorial Day Facebook page.