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U.S. Bank awards $5,000 to Backus Legion on behalf of employee

From left are U.S. Bank Vice President Melinda Thein, Backus American Legion Commander Eugene Gagnon and U.S. Bank Regional President Michael Markman. Submitted Photo

U.S. Bank on Saturday, April 7, awarded $5,000 to the Backus American Legion in recognition of its veterans and community service programs on behalf of employee Melinda B. Thein, a bank executive who works on a variety of the institution's initiatives in those areas.

Bank executives and Thein - who is a bank vice president working out of the Twin Cities, a U.S. Army veteran and graduate of West Point - appeared at a ceremony at the Legion. In recognition of Thein's work on community and veterans programs, the bank honored her with the grant with the provision that she name a nonprofit organization as a recipient.

Thein is the daughter of William and Melvern Taylor, of Backus. William is a past Backus post commander and Melvern a past Auxiliary president.

"I am thankful to have this opportunity to thank you all for serving our country," said Michael Markman, regional bank president from St. Cloud serving central and northern Minnesota, who presented the award to Legion Commander Eugene Gagnon.

Members of the Legion, the Auxiliary and Sons of the American Legion attended the event as well as two other U.S. Bank executives, Nick Hummel, Brainerd and Pine River branch manager, and Thomas Norman, market president.

Thein said she nominated the Legion for the award because of its work in serving veterans, seniors and youth and other community activities, including providing a free meeting place for organizations and political interest groups. She mentioned Memorial Day ceremonies, placing flags on veterans' graves at cemeteries, senior dances, holiday parties for children, and providing a forum for art classes.

The Legion and Auxiliary also provide scholarships and other financial support for education and extracurricular student activities and donate funds for fire and rescue units, community festivals, recreation trail maintenance, distressed families and 4-H and scouting units. Veterans programs include support of holiday parties for veterans at VA hospitals, holiday gifts and USO support for active duty troops and assistance for veterans with post-service medical and emotional issues.

"The Backus American Legion embodies values we hold dear at U.S. Bank," Thein said. "We believe in the power of possible, and the Backus American Legion makes possible happen."

Markman said the bank's commitment to serving veterans has included hiring more than 2,000 reservists and other veterans, donating 13 homes to returning service personnel and assistance to those needing home improvements and repairs.