About Us

Vacations For Veterans, Disabled Public, Their Families & Friends

Unlike the average vacationer’s resort, Veterans on the Lake has a unique historic background for why it was founded. In 1982, Disabled Veterans Recreation, Inc. was organized by a group of northeastern Minnesota citizens passionate about finding adequate recreational resources for veterans. Originally the Disabled Veterans Recreation, Inc., Veterans on the Lake was started for the sole purpose of creating a recreational facility for disabled veterans to enjoy vacations. As a non-profit facility, this recreational location was designed to and currently serves the needs of disabled veterans, able bodied veterans, active duty military, their families, and friends.

Many vacations are enjoyed every year and many of our guests travel long and difficult distances to attend our fine facilities. With the help from supportive community members and you, it is possible to make their stay the most relaxing and convenient vacation of their year. To learn how you can contribute please visit our donation page.

In conjunction with the US Forest Service and the provisions of the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Act of 1978, we provide lodging and accommodations inside the Superior National Forest area for your enjoyment and pleasure.

Groups That Use Our Facility:

  • Fergus Falls Veterans Home
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America (Iowa City Group)
  • Navy Chiefs (group of guys who come from Eagan area to use the facility and work on projects around the property)
  • Silver Bay Veterans Home
  • St. Cloud – Vets to the Lake Veterans Home
  • United Way of Northeastern Minnesota
  • Xcel Energy raises money and stay for two weeks working  on projects around the resort
  • Minnesota Sled Hockey (new this year and will be returning next year). These kids are disabled and not veterans.

Eligibility Requirements For Reservations:

Please note the current eligibility requirements to make a reservation at Veterans on the Lake Resort. These must be fulfilled in order for us to comply with our Special Use Permit with the United States Forest Service.

Person making reservation must come from one of the following categories:        

  • Disabled Veterans. Survivors of deceased disabled veteran or Survivor of veteran killed in action.
  • Veterans age 65 or older
  • Non-veteran disabled
  • Active duty Military
  • Able-bodied veteran

Also permitted:

  • Groups or governmental agencies
  • Walk-Ins

*Note:  Disability can be from in or out of military service. Disabled veterans category includes spouse and children of service person killed in action and spouse of deceased disabled veteran. Anyone from one of the above qualifying categories can bring guests of their choice.


Volunteers at Veterans on the Lake Resort are the best supporters and advocates. Volunteer hours recorded at the resort in 2005 total 10,150 hours. Volunteers include Board Members, Honorary Board Members, Orators and Fundraising Event Assistants. Volunteers also aid VOTLR staff in service to its guest in areas of maintenance, housekeeping, cooking, table service, office administration, fishing guides and volunteer coordinators. The generous donation of time and knowledge helps VOTLR achieve its mission and work toward accomplishing its vision.

Partnerships & Fundraisers:

Veterans on the Lake Resort has established successful partnerships with organizations as a vehicle for broadcasting its mission, conducting fundraising events and recruiting new volunteers. Many veterans’ service organizations host meals to generate donations for the resort and to offer a venue for the VOTLR Board members to make informative presentations to the public. The Board also conducts an annual golf tournament, which provides additional volunteer and fundraising opportunities to the community.


Veterans on the Lake Resort guest, volunteers and donors are from locations across the United States. To maintain an ongoing relationship, VOTLR issues its official biannual newsletter, “Loons and Pontoons”. The publication reports season highlights, area news, upcoming events and the on going needs of the organization.

On behalf of the resort, Board Members, Honorary Board Members and other representatives make presentations to interested parties. In addition to the audio visual presentation and the resort brochures, information is communicated on placemats, which are use at the VOTLR fundraiser dinners. The placemats add interest to dinner tables with their patriotic colors and the VOTLR mission statement in bold lettering.

Veterans on the Lake Resort is represented on the World Wide Web, thanks to the talents of Gregg W. Asher, PhD, Computer and Information Science, at Minnesota State University Mankato MN. VOTLR is pleased to welcome Mr. Asher as a frequent guest of the resort.

Donor Acknowledgements:

Veterans on the Lake Resort does not receive assistance through federal, state or county funds. VOTLR receives support through monetary contributions, in-kind donations and donations of time. The Donor Wall of Fame at VOTLR recognizes those who have made a commitment to pledge a recurring cash donation to the resort. Partnerships with community groups provide a generous level of income from fundraiser dinners and events. The great number of hours clocked in by volunteers equate to the work of approximately five full time employees.

Veterans On The Lake Resort

161 Fernberg Rd
Ely, MN 55731

(218) 365-6900