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Minnesota National Guard
Cities take the 'Yellow Ribbon City' challenge

This week, yellow ribbons will decorate South St Paul's business district

The ribbons are being hung to show the city's support of military families and the desire to become a Yellow Ribbon city Community members are invited to attend a Yellow Ribbon meeting at South St Paul City Hall, 125 3rd Ave N, on Thursday, Feb 18, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm

A Yellow Ribbon city, designed to support the various needs of military families, is a part of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, which was created by the National Guard as a means to lend support during pre-deployment, deployment and reintegration into mainstream society

The statewide Yellow Ribbon Campaign, led by Gov Tim Pawlenty, First Lady Mary Pawlenty and Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito, adjutant general of the Minnesota National Guard, guides community leaders in developing a network of support, including training, services and resources

Cities can earn Yellow Ribbon designation, as can churches, businesses and counties For example, Woodbury is a Yellow Ribbon city, while Inver Grove Heights and Mendota Heights are working to earn the designation Washington County is a Yellow Ribbon county

But how does a city connect military families with businesses and others who are willing to help? For South St Paul, the process began on Jan 26, when South St Paul Council Member Marilyn Rothecker met with representatives of the local Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 639, Neighbors Inc, the Gallagher Hansen VFW Post 295 and the Ladies' Auxiliary to discuss future Yellow Ribbon plans

At the City Council meeting Feb 1, this core group invited the general public to the Feb 18 meeting

At this meeting, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon team members will discuss the need for supporting military families in South St Paul Those in attendance will break down into groups, such as businesses, faith-based communities, elected officials, educators, medical personnel and the like, to focus on networking within their areas of expertise

The meeting will be the first step in locating military families and the people willing to help them "There are churches out there, [supporting the military families,] but we don't know who they are," Rothecker said "There may be Red Bulls [a National Guard unit from Minnesota that recently returned home] here, but we have no idea if we have any in our city"

There are many people willing to help, Rothecker said, including a local CPA offering financial services, and a daycare provider offering assistance for children in military families The trick will be identifying those who want to help

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is designed for long-term support to military families

"This isn't just for today, or tomorrow," said Rothecker "The purpose is to sustain the program

"It's about honoring all our military families," she added

For more information on Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign in South St Paul, contact Marilyn Rothecker at 451-6007

14 Feb 2010
Article source: SouthwestReviewNews.com

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