GRYGLA, Minn. -- A new foundation in northwest Minnesota is raising money for scholarships for high school seniors planning to learn a skilled trade.

The Fully Charged Foundation will give three scholarships this spring to three northwest Minnesota students who graduated from high school and will be attending a post-secondary school, said Patrick Hackley, foundation executive director. Hackley is one about 30 people in the Grygla area who recently formed the Fully Charged Foundation.

“The goal of our foundation is to provide financial assistance for people who want to go into a skilled trade,” Hackley said. Most skilled trades in the United States, such as plumbing, carpentry and commercial driving, don’t have enough workers, he said.

“As far as commercial truck drivers, I think we’re almost a half-million short right now. That’s a lot of truck drivers,” Hackley said.

Besides truck drivers, the Gully (Minn.) Tri-Coop, where Hackley manages the energy division, also typically has a shortage of other skilled laborers, such as mechanics, he said.

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The Fully Charged Foundation wants to encourage area graduating high school students to learn a skilled trade and return to their communities to work, Hackley said.

“There’s a tremendous opportunity for people who don’t want to go to college for four years and be $100,000 in debt and for them to live in a nice area and raise a family,” he said.

The Fully Charged Foundation will host David Lee Murphy, a country singer, June 7 at the Grygla Community Center to raise money for scholarships. Murphy might be best known for his No. 1 hits "Dust on the Bottle" and "Everything's Gonna be Alright."

Murphy, who was born in southern Illinois and lived most of his life in Tennessee, is glad he will be entertaining at the foundation's inaugural event.

"I think it's cool how the all-volunteer Fully Charged Foundation is providing scholarships for area youths who want to go into the work force early. ... I definitely relate to the working class. It's the backbone of our country."

During the event, the three scholarships will be given to students. The first, the Wendy Sandsmark Memorial Scholarship will be given to a student who graduated from Grygla High School or Goodridge High School this spring. The Fully Charged Foundation will give the other two to students who graduated from a Minnesota high school within 90 miles of Grygla, or who are students in college pursuing a career in one of the technical trades specified by the foundation.

The goal of the foundation is to raise $25,000 from the June 7 David Lee Murphy event, which includes a dinner and raffle, for this year’s scholarships. In future years, the foundation plans to hold more fundraisers and to increase the scholarship amounts it gives students. The dinner will be at 5:30 p.m. and the entertainment will begin shortly after 7 p.m.

Information on the event: Contact Hackley at 406-478-1004 or by email at