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History
Minnesota National Guard
Helping to make a Yellow Ribbon network

"We have an obligation to help these families who are making sacrifices"

April 22, 2009

An effort sweeping across the county to help provide a support network for military families is getting some help from leaders in Woodbury

On April 22, the Woodbury City Council is likely to authorize a resolution of support for the Yellow Ribbon Network of Washington County

Woodbury resident and former Washington County commissioner Dick Stafford is scheduled to present some information to the council about the campaign

Stafford is vice chair of the group that is working to make Washington County a "Yellow Ribbon Community"

He said the initiative, which is supported by the Minnesota National Guard, has a goal to bring together all the various community support resources available to military families

"There are a lot of different organizations out there trying to help service men and women and their families, but there is no official coordination between those organizations," Stafford said "The Yellow Ribbon Network is designed to address that issue"

Ribbon

The effort actually came out of an initiative that was founded by the Minnesota National Guard called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon," which is aimed at providing reintegration assistance to Soldiers returning from overseas deployments

Lt. Col. Barb O'Reilly has been working on the campaign and helped initiate Yellow Ribbon Network last year in Farmington, a community with a large number of National Guard members

O'Reilly said she then saw an opportunity to form a network of Yellow Ribbon communities, where members of public and private organizations, schools, businesses and residents can offer any number of support services for military families in their community

"A lot of times with military families, I think there is this feeling where you should be able to take care of yourself," O'Reilly said "These families do have needs, but a lot of times there is a pride issue involved, where they are not willing to ask for help"

Help can come in the form of a baby sitter, a cleaning service, someone to help with house or vehicle maintenance issues, said Stafford

"You might have a mother with three kids and her husband is serving, and all the sudden there is a plumbing problem in the house," Stafford said "We want to be able to let them know they call someone who will help them with that issue

"We have an obligation to help these families who are making sacrifices and it's gonna take help from all the community, businesses and residents"

Network in the early stages

The Washington County Yellow Ribbon Network initiative began last month during a meeting of area elected and community leaders at Oak-Land Junior High in Lake Elmo in the form of an ad hoc task force

The meeting was spurred out of an earlier initiative led by Washington County Commissioner Gary Kriesel and a host of other community members

The various parties encouraged all the municipalities in the county to pass a resolution of support for the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, which was recently deployed to another tour in Iraq

At the March task force meeting, the group heard from Yellow Ribbon Network leaders in Farmington who shared their success to forming a network of resources from around the community

Local veteran organizations in Woodbury are praising the effort and plan to join in, said Tom Grezek, post commander for the Woodbury American Legion

"We will have are people involved in any way we're needed," said Grezek, who commented that the Yellow Ribbon Network is more proof that the community is solidly behind its military members and families

"I am a Vietnam-era vet and I can tell you that the way society turned its head away from Soldiers was a bad thing, but that's not the case any more" Grezek said

"And there is definitely more we can do for our servicemen and women, make sure they have the support they need during and after their service"

Lt. Col. O'Reilly said the long-term goal is to establish Yellow Ribbon communities across the metro area and state so that military families will be comfortable in using the resources providing to them by their neighbors

"Once we get this network formed and the resources in place, that's when the work really begins," O'Reilly said

Hank Long "¢ Woodbury Bulletin

Read more at the Woodbury Bulletin
Find a Minnesota National Guard family assistance center.

Learn more about the Minnesota National Guard's award-winning reintegration program here, or visit the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon homepage.



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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



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Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.



Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.



Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."



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