BY ELAINE KLAASSEN
Thirteen years ago, within a period of 18 months, Mary Bergerson’s losses were more than anyone could imagine. Her mom died of brain cancer, her soldier husband took his own life, her youngest brother died suddenly, her step-children were taken away because her disability eliminated her right to keep them, the bank took her home and she wasn’t able to focus well enough to keep her job. She came back to life through the charity she created, the Mission Project, an organization that sponsors a support group called Freedom Fighters, a way to aid soldiers and veterans and to prevent the ongoing 23 suicides per day. (In January, Freedom Fighters started meeting Thursdays at Bethany Lutheran Church on Franklin Avenue—See Support Group for Soldiers and Veterans in the Religion Calendar under the heading ONGOING.)
The Mission Project also provides short-term help for veterans in crisis with gift cards for gas, food and other essentials or emergency cash grants; quilts to vets in homeless shelters; scholarships for camps with a family or PTSD focus, and care packages for soldiers in active duty.
The charity is a 100 % volunteer effort, a tax-deductible 501(c)(3). Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact Mary at 952-393-7524.