Gophers to honor Minn. troops

Matthew Gruchow

In honor of their service, about 1,000 Minnesota National Guard and Reserve troops and their family members have received tickets to Saturday’s Gophers football game.

Looking to reward the troops in some way, the University raised $15,000 to help pay for tickets, said Jessica Fleischmann, University Athletics Department donor relations assistant.

According to NCAA rules, the University cannot give the tickets away for free, Fleischmann said.

Some of the troops have been deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and other areas around the world, according to retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Denny Schulstad, the Minnesota chairman for the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.

Tickets are also going to the families of the soldiers who are currently deployed. The troops and their families deserve recognition, he said.

“We are always looking for ways to show appreciation to the Guard and Reserve people who have been deployed,” he said.

“What we find is that these Guard and Reserve people and their families want people to appreciate what they’re doing because they are making some huge sacrifices.”

Gopher football spokesman Shane Sandersfeld said “Tickets for Troops” is a tremendous idea.

“I think anytime you have a chance to give back to the servicemen, it’s something you definitely want to do,” he said.

Fleischmann said all possible tickets for servicemen and servicewomen have been reserved, but donations are still being accepted for similar events in the future.