A free event for military members and their families is taking place this Friday at Central Church in Sioux Falls. The Bridging The Gap Festival has been three years in the making and is being put on by Sioux Falls Community Action for Veterans. It can help connect military families to resources they might not know about.
For the first time, hundreds of KELOLAND Veterans will head to Central Church this Friday for the Bridging The Gap Festival designed just for them.
“A small idea has exploded into huge support from our community,” Lisa Carson said.
Carson is in charge of the family carnival portion that will run from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. She has a daughter in the Army and is a proud volunteer with the group putting on the festival, Sioux Falls Community Action For Veterans.
“Extremely proud. Who wouldn’t be,” Carson said.
On top of the carnival, the event features a resource fair and a living library with several speakers.
“There might be folks highlighting, hey as a Veteran, you’re entitled to these discounts with us or it might be health care related. We can connect you with the right resources that might help you have better outcomes,” Steve Ennis said.
Ennis is a volunteer. He’s spent his whole life taking care of his father, an injured Vietnam Veteran. Paul Ennis died from his service-connected injuries four years ago.
“It’s the debt that we owe for those that didn’t sign up and serve. It’s the debt that we owe to take care of those that do serve for us,” Ennis said.
About 200 Veterans have signed up already and there is room for hundreds more. All you need to do is show up on Friday.
“Anybody that’s been around conflict never comes out clean,” Jerry Swangel said.
Swangel is with Central Church, the facility hosting the event. He’s also a Vietnam Veteran and can’t wait to serve other Vets this Friday.
“Today things are 180-percent different than that which is a real positive thing for the health of the country when they honor the men and women who have served and their families who have made tremendous sacrifices,” Swangel said.
Helping military families towards a future filled with hope.
There are more than 40 vendors signed up to help Veterans this Friday. The Bridging The Gap Festival starts with an opening ceremony at 10:30 a.m. A free lunch and dinner will be provided by Hy-Vee.