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History
Minnesota National Guard
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

Supporting service members cannot end when they return home from deployment

April 22, 2009

Isanti County is working to train and empower the community toward supporting military service members before, during and after deployments

To begin this journey, local leaders are inviting the public to a special kick off of the Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program from 6-8 pm Thursday, April 30 at the new Armed Forces Reserve Center

The AFRC, 505 Spirit River Drive South, is located just south and across the road from the Cambridge Campus of Anoka-Ramsey Community College

Yellow Ribbon aims to assist every Isanti County service member-past and present-and their families to successfully deal with the effects of combat operational stress

In addition, the program strives to empower the community to coordinate efforts and build an enduring network of support for service members and families through the deployment cycle

The community-driven campaign is a reminder that supporting service members cannot end when they return home from deployment and the yellow ribbons are untied

The Minnesota National Guard pioneered Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, which has become a national model The resources available through the Guard are viewed an asset for troops and their families during the deployment cycle

Now, Isanti County is leading the way for Minnesota counties as communities from across the state are becoming Yellow Ribbon cities

"This is an opportunity for the community to join forces with service providers in Isanti County to support and care for military service members and their families who live in our county," say local Yellow Ribbon organizers "Most likely someone you know has had a military service member deployed one or more times since September 11, 2001"

Further, Yellow Ribbon is a support system for service members anad their families during alerts, mobilizations, deployments, re-deployment and reintegration upon return This cannot be donewithout local communities wrapping their arms around those who have answered our nation's call," organizers explain

The program expanded beyond the Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers and their families to include any branch of service if the service member or his/her family had a home of recorda in Minnesota

Background

After hearing how World War II Soldiers returned home to a "heroes" welcome, and Vietnam veterans were shamed and humiliated, Isanti County Commissioner Susan Morris felt something needed to be done

Morris realized action was needed to ensure local veterans have a smooth transition back into society after listening to a speaker at a public health conference in September 2007

Before the Isanti County Board on Feb 3, Morris asked county Veteran Service Officer Jim Rostberg what could be done

"I asked him what we can do in Isanti County to make a difference, and show our Soldiers that we're proud of what they've done, and get them the resources they need," Morris had said

Eventually, Morris, Rostberg and Bob Boone, retired MN Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major, began meeting to discuss the possibility of organizing an Isanti County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Task Force

Boone, who's lived in Isanti County since 1969 and served 38 years in the Minnesota Army National Guard, said this is a task he intends to take on with a "passion"

"Our goal of this is to make sure our Soldiers come all the way home, not just part-way home," Boone said

County commissioners on Feb 3 unanimously approved the task force and authorized spending grant money to fund Yellow Ribbon billboards, a Web site (isanticountyveteransorg) and a resource directory

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Contacts

The Global War on Terrorism has called on Reserve Component Service Members at a level not seen since World War II For service members, this means they are alerted, mobilized and deployed out of what has come to be known as Fort Minnesota

"We are Fort Minnesota because we do not have an active duty post that provides all the support services that service members and their families need before, during and after deployments This becomes more critical when you realize we have service members from our county that have made multiple deployments," say Yellow Ribbon organizers

As of member of the Isanti County community, do you feel called to assist in the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program? Then mark your calendars for the April 30 kick-off (6-8 pm) at the Armed Forces Reserve Center in Cambridge

Jon Tatting "¢ Isanti County News

Read more at the Isanti County News
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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