| Sweet people packing sweet cookies
BASRA, IRAQ - Mention "Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar" around a native Minnesotan in Iraq, and you're almost guaranteed a glazed-eyed expression and rambling murmurs of longing Say "10,000 cookies" right after, and you might need to find them a chair
Yet, that's the number of cookies volunteers from several charitable and patriotic organizations - and many Sweet Martha's employees - gathered Dec 19 to pack-up and send to troops deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Infantry Division
As part of the event, Soldiers at Contingency Operating Base Basra hopped on Skype and got a chance to ogle the buckets as they were being prepared
Volunteers from all over participated on the Minnesota side; Cadets from St Thomas Academy, Mendota Heights, Minn, where the event was held, pitched in and even added notes to each package for the Soldiers
Members of the Minnesota Patriot Guard, the Minnesota-based arm of the Patriot Guard Riders who attend funerals of service members, shared table space with Blue Star Moms, a service organization of military mothers They were joined by local members of the Vietnams Veterans Association and local exchange clubs
Even Minnesota Timberwolves board member Bill Popp showed up to support the troops and say a few words over Skype
Spc LaFena Washington, 34th Inf Div Human Resources Specialist from Minnetonka, Minn, said she was especially touched by the singing and guitar playing of Joshua Revak, himself a veteran of recent conflicts
Revak serenaded several of the Soldiers over Skype, and spent a considerable amount of time at the Skype terminal chatting with and singing to them
It was the first time Washington had ever used Skype, she said, and that Saturday night, if not for a friend encouraging her to come participate, would have otherwise been a movie and popcorn night
"I'm so glad I did this," she said after passing the headset on to the next Soldier "It was worth missing movie night"
"The fact they had a veteran playing for us really stood out," she said, "and that people took time out to come over and talk to us I was really impressed"
Staff Sgt Paul Gudding, 34th Inf Div Personnel Noncommissioned Officer, followed Washington
"It was just nice to see that a bunch of people got on," said the Moorhead, Minn native "It was a little hometown experience"
Brad Walton, Event Organizer, said the event carried on a tradition started in 2006 when a Marine returning soon to Iraq called in to WCCO, Minneapolis radio show When Walton asked him what he could do to help the troops, the Marine simply replied, "Chocolate chip cookies"
Walton immediately thought of Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar, and owner Martha Rossini-Olson jumped at the idea, Walton said
That first batch saw 10,000 cookies heading out to the troops, and now another 10,000 are shipping overseas
"About a month ago as I thought of you and the Red Bulls and all the troops, I reflected back to 2006 and the cookies for the troops," Walton wrote in an email to Chaplain (Lt Col) John Morris, 34th Inf Div Chaplain, in early December "I called Martha Rossini of Sweet Martha fame and asked her if she was once again up for doing what we did with the Blue Star Moms and all back in 2006"
Of course, her enthusiasm for the idea was as great in 2009 as in 2006
They would even throw in an added bonus, Walton noted in the e-mail: milk Gudding was happy at the idea of the milk when volunteers showed it off to him over Skype
"It'll be nice to have some real milk," he said
In the end, it comes down to basic gratitude, on both ends
"We are all so indebted to all of you for your service," Walton, said, with Rossini-Olson nodding agreement next to him "It's just our way of saying thank you"
On the other end, once those cookies have reached the troops, the volunteers and organizers are sure to have that thank you returned to them, perhaps not 10,000 times in word, but certainly in 10,000 moments of enjoyment
By Sgt Benjamin R Kibbey
Dec 24, 2009
Article source: http://www.theredbulls.org/article00529
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.