Veterans Day: Chamber committee connects Grand Forks community with men, women who serve
Retired U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Greg Bowen understands how meaningful the support from the Grand Forks community is to area men and women who serve in the military.
That’s why after serving as a reservist in the North Dakota Army National Guard for 17 years and in active duty in the Army National Guard for another 20, Bowen two months ago became co-chair of The Chamber Grand Forks-East Grand Forks Military Affairs Committee.
“The Military Affairs Committee was a really good fit,” said Bowen. ”As a Guardsman during the Flood of 1997, I remember how thankful and appreciative the locals were with everyone wearing a uniform.”
Bowen recalls the chamber hosting a barbecue for North Dakota Army National Guard members in Grand Forks, civilians buying him cups of coffee when he was in local coffee shops and people in the community thanking him for his service.
“That’s the part I want to give back to the next generation. I want to pay it forward,” Bowen said
In 2019, Bowen retired as deputy director, chief global operations, United States Strategic Air Command, Offutt, Neb. Before that, his positions included deputy commanding general for operations, U.S. Army space and missile defense command/U.S. Army forces strategic command at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado; 100th missile defense brigade commander, Colorado Springs; and chief, current operations and future operations, Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado.
Bowen, a 1987 graduate of UND’s ROTC program who grew up in Grand Forks, has been a Military Affairs Committee member of The Chamber Grand Forks-East Grand Forks for about a year and a half.
“After serving for 36 years, I wasn’t done serving yet,” Bowen said. “I wanted to find another way to serve."
Co-chairing the Military Affairs Committee with Matt Dunlevy is a good way to do that because members of the group work to connect members of the community to men and women who serve in the military. Committee members support U.S. Air Force personnel at Grand Forks Air Base, UND Air Force ROTC, UND Army ROTC, Grand Forks Public Schools Junior ROTC and North Dakota Army National Guard in Grand Forks.
The Golden Eagles Club, a division of the MAC, provides funding for the MAC to host events and support programs for military personnel. Events the committee typically hosts include an annual military appreciation event for military members and their families before a UND football game, an annual golf outing in which military members are paired with civilians, and a curling event to introduce the sport to military members.
This year, most events were canceled because of safety concerns about spreading COVID-19, but the MAC has ordered pizza deliveries for single airmen living in Grand Forks Air Force Base dormitories.
“We try to do things to stay connected," Bowen said.
“It’s very enjoyable for me to be able to give back to the community and that’s what the MAC is all about: making them feel appreciated. What they do is very important and we want them to feel as welcome as we possibly can,” he said.