A member of the F-M Memorial Honor Guard presents a widow with her husband’s flag after his burial in the Fargo National Cemetery on a frigid winter day.

Nancy Edmonds Hanson

The FM Legion Riders motorcycle club and the Moorhead Business Association again plan to spend 44 hours “freezin’ for a reason” on Feb. 4-6, but this year they hope Mother Nature doesn’t turn the thermometer down quite as far.

“Last year it got down to -22 degrees – coldest day of the year,” organizer Tom Krabbenhoft recalls. “We could use just a little less of the deep freeze this time around.”

The motorcycle group, with members from the Moorhead American Legion and other veterans organizations in Fargo-Moorhead and Dilworth, sponsored the first overnight camp-out a year ago as part of the community’s Frostival event. It was conceived as a fund-raiser for good causes in the community. That first time around, it raised more than $15,000 in donations, which were divided between the Brady Oberg Foundation and Churches United for the Homeless.

Like the Oberg Foundation, Freezin’ for a Reason reflects the grim reality of the 22 veterans lost to suicide every day; that inspires its duration of 44 hours.

This time, says Krabbenhoft, funds raised during the endurance event are earmarked for another cause dear to the hearts of local vets. “We’re supporting the Memorial Honor Guard’s campaign to build a shelter at the Fargo National Cemetery,” he says. “They are busy all the time out there, no matter what the weather. Widows and other survivors have to stand or sit in the cold during the ceremony, no matter how miserable it is.” Half of the 2022 proceeds will be donated to the project. The Memorial Honor Guard plans to acquire adjoining land for the structure and build an all-seasons facility with indoor seating and rest rooms.

Another innovation: Those who stick it out in the chilly National Guard tents at the Legion will each get to donate a share to the local charity of their choice on Giving Hearts Day.

A third new twist for 2022: The sponsors will be pitching not one, but two tents. The second will accommodate women up for the challenge. The first are Janae White of WDAY Radio’s morning “Coffee Club;” Sarah Fischer of Crosses for Cameron; and Jodi Plecity of the Garden of Healing. Sponsors are looking for others, especially among local media celebrities.

Meanwhile, the men’s tent’s population is already climbing. Among the first to pledge to freeze are Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting and Cass County’s Jesse Jahner, as well as WDAY’s Jay Thomas. Other prospective campers, both men and women, are encouraged to join; contact Krabbenhoft, 701-367-8678 for more information.

Other activities are planned for the public. The Front Fenders will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday. On Saturday, members of the Moorhead High wrestling team will stage a cornhole tournament at 12:30 with the help of Below Zero Pro Wrestling. The Red River Zoo will host activities for children from noon to 3, and the Legion sponsors Bingo from 3 to 6. A bonfire is planned at 5 p.m. with hot cocoa and schnapps, followed by the area’s biggest gathering of veterans groups at 6:30 and karaoke at 9. The Legion Riders host breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday.

“This time, we’re going to have a little heat in our tents,” the organizer promises. “Last year was brutal. We don’t want this to turn into an episode of ‘Arctic Survivor’ or have folks going back to work with frostbite.”

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