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Minnesota National Guard
Citizens Committee seeks to bring Community and Military together

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Those attending the meeting were: Mike Grote(Madelia), Doug Gappa(Madelia), Joe McCabe(St James), Deb Grote (Madelia), Jose Carron(St James), Tom Mayberry (St James), "Doc" Durheim(St James), Paul Nordstrom(St James) Dave Holmgren(St James) and Ron Olson(Butterfield)

    There is a movement across the State of Minnesota that is gathering steam It begins with a local "Citizens Committee" and hopefully moves to a program called "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" The movement has been pioneered by the Minnesota National Guard

    SFC Stephen Whitehead(1st Battalion 125th Field Artillery/New Ulm) headed up a Citizens Committee Meeting at the St James Armory last Thursday evening to get the project going "The goal is to get   military units such as the St James National Guard,  134th BSB, and the community more involved with each other," said SFC Whitehead "It's a partnership based on communication and awareness of each other"

    The Citizens Committee and Beyond Yellow Ribbon will enhance not only public awareness of a local unit's deployment (when that occurs) but will help the community become aware of post deployment as well "Things don't stop when a Soldier gets home from deployment," Whitehead explained "The Soldier faces issues associated with his or her return and the community can play an important part in that"

    SFC Whitehead has been serving around the state of Minnesota and particulary in southern Minnesota "Around the cities(Twin Cities) it is much easier to find support groups for families of military personnel," said Whitehead "Out here it is a little more difficult I hope we can look at all of Minnesota as "˜Fort Minnesota'"

    Eventually, should the Watonwan County Committee get to rolling, they will appoint their own leader In the meantime, Whitehead will be the contact person for the group

    The Citizens Committee is the first step in a county, city or town being proclaimed "Yellow Ribbon" by the Governor  Governor Pawlenty proclaimed Farmington, Minnesota as Minnesota's first Yellow Ribbon City in December of 2008

    The plan for becoming a Yellow Ribbon City begins with a Community Training Event: This initial event is for community leaders and anyone interested in learning about how they can support their community members

"¢ The community arranges the time, date, and location for the initial training event Attendees will be broken out into their specific markets (businesses, clergy, elected officials, etc) for a brain-storming session led by a professional from Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Team More information in the March 4 Plaindealer

By Wayne Fritzinger, Staff Writer
St James Plaindealer
Wed Mar 03, 2010, 09:31 AM CST


Article source: http://www.stjamesnews.com



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