Veterans at Ft. Snelling perform services in cold, snow and ice

Minnesota’s recent brutal weather has not stopped the team at Fort Snelling National Cemetery from prepping the gravesites for service members and their families.

Of the about 50 people working at the cemetery, about 85 percent of them are veterans themselves. It’s one of the reasons why they are out there no matter the weather.

“We’ve got to continue the mission,” said Robert Roeser, of Ft. Snelling National Cemetery. “Everyone shows up, everyone gets the job done. It’s just amazing.”

“A lot of the people out here are veterans so they take special pride for the people who sacrificed for our nation,” said Andrew Motzka, an Iraq War veteran.

It’s a solemn pride, but Motzka and his team have created the final resting places at Ft. Snelling National Cemetery where about 13 services happen a day no matter the weather across the more than 300 acres of snow-covered fields.

“Some days it gets a little dicey,” Motzka admitted.

“A few weeks ago, when it was 56-below, we had seven services that day,” Roeser said. “Not only did we have to provide the services for veterans and their families, plus prepare for the next day.”

“We’re using power tools,” said Roeser of how the team works in those conditions. “From jackhammers to burners.”

“They’ll go bust out the ground up the best they can,” Motzka said.

“We really do have the deep frost line,” Roeser added. “It’s like chewing up 4 feet of concrete.”

With military-like determination, not even Minnesota’s winter weather can slow down this team.

Ft. Snelling National Cemetery is the final resting place to more than $230,000 service members and their family members.