SAUK RAPIDS -- Minnesota's stay at home order to fight the coronavirus has been extended through the middle of May.

Normally, this time of year would find members from Sauk Rapids VFW Post 6992 gearing up for parade season.

This year, the group is apart out of necessity, and the post's club on Benton Drive in Sauk Rapids is closed.

"I get phone calls and text messages, and call to check up on people," said Ryan Johnson, Post Commander. "It's tough right now. Every now and then, we'll have to go down to the VFW and check the coolers, just to make sure everything's still working. It's one way to get out the house."

As Post Commander, Johnson is in charge of sending out a monthly newsletter to the Post's roughly 500 members. He says group members have been active on a Facebook page,  sharing news and cracking jokes.

Like other VFW groups, Post 6992 is a nonprofit organization, turning profits from meals, drinks and meat raffles into charitable giving for area people in need.

Johnson says Post members are used to being active and involved in community events.

"We march in parades," said Johnson. "We get together once a month to decide what donations we'll give. Every month, we get requests and have to decide where we'll give our money."

"We miss the camaraderie," added Johnson. "We miss getting together with the guys. But you know, I guess you just find different things to do."

Governor Tim Walz extended Minnesota's stay at home order Thursday. The order runs through May 18.

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