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A painted tribute -- Operation Enduring Freedom car makes stop at Detroit Lakes VFW

When the Detroit Lakes VFW hosted a meet and greet for the Patriot Riders this weekend, they got to see more than planned.

"We did not know that car was coming or we would have made arrangements," VFW Commander Dave Coalwell said.

That car is the Operation Enduring Freedom car, honoring National Guard soldiers who have died in the line of service. The time period of those deaths range from April 15, 2002 to Sept. 11, 2006, and include local serviceman Josh Hanson.

Greg Riewer's name doesn't appear on the car, Coalwell said, because he died after those dates, after the car was painted.

"It was a really awesome display. I was amazed at the number of young ladies' names on there. It's quite sad when you see it," Coalwell said.

He said he's not certain where the car came from, and to his knowledge it's the first time it made an appearance in Detroit Lakes.

After the unanticipated arrival of the vehicle, VFW members asked police to come shine a spotlight on the vehicle to showcase it.

Coalwell said seeing the names and the thought of losing so many leaders and young people left him "sorrowed ... but I was in awe of the work put into (the car)."