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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Pilot program established to help National Guard Soldiers with reintegration

With Minnesotan National Guard men and women returning from tours abroad, a pilot program to reintegrate those persons into everyday life has taken shape, poised for national implementation

"It is an amazing program," commented Dr Jim Torkildson, Site Director for Lakeland Mental Health Center in Detroit Lakes "We have participated in a variety of specialized training opportunities and have been involved in the 30 and 60 day reintegration programs that took place at Minnesota State University Moorhead ( MSUM)

The program, called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon," is named as a reminder that the support of Soldiers cannot end when they return from deployment and the yellow ribbons are untied, remarked Torkildson

The pilot program came to be, added Torkildson, as a result of a number of key entities coming together, uniting the Minnesota National Guard, TriWest Healthcare Alliance (a private company that contracts with the Department of Defense to provide health care for Soldiers), and the Veterans' Administration to create a forum to help Soldiers returning from tours abroad reintegrate into their communities

According to a Department of Defense Task Force on Mental Health report this past summer, "38 percent of Soldiers and 31 percent of marines report psychological symptoms Among members of the National Guard, the figure rises to 49 percent"

Programs such as "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" are aimed to bridge the gaps identified by the Mental Health Task Force Report through the combined efforts of military and non-military healthcare professionals

To date, about 1,500 Soldiers went through the training between 2005 and 2006, and another 2,600 who returned in July after serving in Iraq are in the process, Minnesota Deputy State Chaplain Lt. Col. John Morris said in a Minnesota National Guard News release

Talking to the Department of Veterans Affairs, mental health experts, Soldiers and missionaries, Chaplain Morris helped coordinate a new program, in which various mental healthcare specialists provide on-site consultation, referrals and training for local guard personnel returning from conflict zones

"There was no research on the reintegration of Soldiers or families "¦ nothing on how to put your life back together," Morris said in the release

A main part of the Minnesota pilot program is to gather Soldiers back together at designated 30-day increments upon demobilization, providing them information on combat stress and trauma treatment as well as available counseling services for parenting, anger management, marriage and divorce with mental health personnel on site to distribute information and explain support services being offered

The next step in "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" will be to embed healthcare specialists into the units themselves, helping them to be better able to treat Soldiers they know and have seen before

"We wanted to be able to aid our troops in getting the help they need to successfully return from their assignments, many of which were combat related, and reintegrate them into the communities from which they came," explained Torkildson, a Vietnam-era veteran himself

Now a pilot program, the VA is looking at rolling out this program across the nation, added Torkildson

Lakeland Mental Health Center (LMHC), is part of Minnesota's unique reintegration programm with Jim Torkildson EdD, LP and Eric Smemo LICSW recently attending the 60-day reintegration gathering held at MSUM on Oct 27 of this year

"We have learned a lot over the years, and this program puts many of those reintegration lessons into practice," said Torkildson "The MSUM gathering was a useful tool in helping our local National Guard successfully re-enter their daily lives"

The next "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" reintegration event, the 90-day installment of the program, will be held at Camp Ripley on Dec 14-16

"I've attended specialized training called Combat-Related Behavioral Health for this program, which was very beneficial," commented Torkildson

Since 1949, LMHC's purpose has been to help clients improve their lives and the lives of those they love In partnership with the communities in which they are located, their experienced staff includes psychiatrists, psychologists, clinical social workers, marriage and family counselors, chemical dependency counselors, clinical nurse specialists and mental health counselors

"We offer traditional therapy services such a marriage counseling, parenting and anger management services through our clinic to help people and Soldiers reduce stress and strengthen personal/family relationships," said Torkildson

LMHC has locations in Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Glenwood and Moorhead For more information locally, call 847-1676 The Detroit Lakes Lakeland Mental Health Center is located at 714 Washington Ave

Jackie Jenson
DL-Online
Article source: http://www.dl-online.com/articles/index.cfm?id=32227§ion=news



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Governor Mark Dayton installs new Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General

Posted: 2017-11-04  04:16 PM
TAG installation ST. PAUL, Minn. - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton administered the oath of office to Maj. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, installing him as the Minnesota National Guard's 31st Adjutant General during a ceremony in St. Paul, November 4, 2017.

"General Jensen has been a tremendous leader of the Minnesota National Guard throughout his years of dedicated service," said Governor Dayton. "He has served in two top leadership positions, as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, and also as the Chief of Staff at the Guard's Joint Force Headquarters. I am confident that he will continue to provide the same outstanding leadership as his predecessor, General Rick Nash."

Jensen most recently served as the Commanding General of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division. He previously held positions as Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Africa and Southern European Task Force, Minnesota National Guard Director of the Joint Staff and Minnesota National Guard Assistant Adjutant General - Army.



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Posted: 2017-10-04  11:22 AM
ETAB ANOKA, Minn. - The Minnesota National Guard lost one of its most historically significant units when the 151st Artillery's E Battery, (Target Acquisition) cased its colors in a ceremony at the Anoka High School Aug. 19, 2017.

The Target Acquisition Battery (ETAB), 151st Field Artillery is one of the oldest and most decorated units in the Minnesota National Guard and the 34th Infantry Division. "Both Minnesota and the Division lose the proud lineage that goes back to Civil War days, through WW1 and WW2, and had a significant amount of battle streamers," said 151st Field Artillery Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Patrick Cornwell.

The 151st Field Artillery draws its lineage from the 1st Regiment, Minnesota Heavy Artillery of 1864 which fought two major campaigns in Tennessee during the Civil War.



In one month: Minnesota Guardsmen support Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria

Posted: 2017-09-29  02:25 PM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - In the span of a few weeks, three major hurricanes hit different parts of the southern United States, causing widespread damage and destruction and requiring the response of agencies around the country. The Minnesota National Guard is one of the many organizations that have responded, sending Soldiers and Airmen to Texas, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

"This is the most gratifying deployment of my career," said Capt. Jeremy Maxey with the 133rd Airlift Wing who was called back from his vacation early to go to the Virgin Islands. "It means a lot to be able to actually directly help people. It's why I serve. Throughout my career I've deployed numerous times, but this is the one where you actually see the people you serve."

The start of the month brought the first request for assistance. On Sept. 1, two CH-47 Chinook helicopters and 11 personnel from the St. Cloud-based B Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment left for Texas following Hurricane Harvey to transport personnel and equipment in support of response efforts.



Finding fellowship in the sacred mission

Posted: 2017-09-26  12:02 PM
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About 45 Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers came to Camp Ripley, Minnesota, on September 21-22, 2017, for a Reset Seminar to find fellowship in one specific thing they have in common: delivering the worst news in the Army.

When a Soldier dies at home or overseas, CNOs and CAOs must notify and help families through the process, including paperwork, benefits, and funeral arrangements.



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