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After a year off, Lady of the Lake holds Veterans Cruise

CLEAR LAKE — After a year off, the annual Veterans Cruise on the Lady of the Lake in Clear Lake took place on Wednesday. Two separate cruises saw near capacity crowds of veterans and their families enjoying a day on the lake, free of charge.

Lady of the Lake co-owner Scott Monson says veterans missed not having the cruise last year due to the pandemic.  “It was definitely missing last year. A lot of people even commented that ‘we hope you’re doing a veterans cruise this year, we thoroughly enjoy it, we love to get out on the lake’. It’s probably one of the only times a lot of them do actually come out on the lake just for a quick ride with us. We want to show our appreciation toward the veterans.”

The cruise started 10 years ago and Monson says it’s been greatly supported with the help of community sponsors. “It actually started with Joette and Mike Nelson. Joette brought up to Mike and said we should do this. When they first started that, I was still a captain on the boat. Over the years I said we should be giving them a free ride, they shouldn’t have to pay. When the boat was purchased by Niki and myself, I said that’s it, we’re going to figure out a way, and that’s when we brought in a title sponsor with Joe Pritchard, and those guys have jumped in and done gift bags every year, and their crew is out here to shake hands and thank everybody, and it’s just turned out to be an amazing ride every year.”

Monson says the veterans always show their appreciation for the cruise.  “Amazingly this year, we saw it more than previous years. They are just happy that they could get out and they could have fun and enjoy this, and meet some more new people. Lots of new people came this year. I’ve seen with a lot of them over the years, it’s hard for them to tell their story to their family or friends, but when they sit down with a military buddy, they can talk about it, and it’s a weight lifted off their shoulders.”

Monson says veterans came from as far away as Cedar Falls and Fort Dodge for Wednesday’s cruise. 

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