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Minnesota National Guard
Beyond The Yellow Ribbon

ALBERT LEA, MN--Since 9/11 the Minnesota National Guard has deployed more than 20,000 Soldiers Saying goodbye is very hard for all of those Soldiers, but often times it's even harder for the families who are left behind

Minnesota was the first state to start a re-integration program after service And now, a new campaign is aimed at getting the community even more involved with those families, before, during, and after deployment

It's innocent faces like that of little Alex Funk, who are left at home during deployments She's the daughter of Colonel and Albert Lea Schools Superintendent Mike Funk who most recently served in Kosovo

One of the lead organizers for the new "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" campaign, Lt. Col.onel Barbara O'Reilly says, "It's just really a grassroots effort, not a lot of money, but a lot of people who care"

She's describing the program that may have helped little Alex and her family out during her dad's deployment "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" is a community based organization, that doesn't take donations, but rather people's time and services to help troops and their families out, before during and after deployment

O'Reilly says, "Our goal is to develop 'Fort Minnesota' We define that as, united communities supporting those who serve all throughout Minnesota, it's an enduring network of support that links one community, the next community, and the next community"

Albert Lea's National Guard has been deployed twice in the last 6 years And it's a program SFC Jeff Dahlen says would have greatly helped his family, "When I get deployed, they tell me what to do, where to go, what to eat, what to wear But when I leave my family at home, there's empty space that I would, little tasks that I would normally do that become very frustrating on top of taking care of 2 children and running a career"

The campaign hopes people will offer the skills and services they already have, like mowing grass, making meals, plowing snow, or helping build resumes, that would aleviate some of that stress from families Dahlen says, "I think my wife's job is sometimes harder than what we do Even though our job can be very stressful at times, she's got a lot of stress all the time"

If Albert Lea moves forward with the campaign, they must create an action plan for what they'll do to help build "Fort Minnesota" And then the Governor will designate them a "Yellow Ribbon Community", with a designation on the city's sign

For more information: http://BeyondTheYellowRibbonorg

Reported by: Gwen Siewert
Last Update: 3/31 8:29 pm


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

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Minnesota National Guard leaders visit traveling tribute in Austin

Posted: 2018-05-22  10:16 AM
Traveling Wall AUSTIN, Minn. - A replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial was on display May 16-20, in Austin and leaders of the 347th Regional Support Group took the opportunity to visit during the event's closing ceremony.

The display, dubbed the American Veterans Traveling Tribute, was hosted by Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Austin and featured a near-replica of the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"It was an honor to be part of this humbling and moving tribute to our Vietnam veterans," said Col. Stephen Schemenauer. "The traveling Vietnam Wall is a powerful display, and this event provided an opportunity to meet, and thank, service members from WWII to present-day conflicts. Regardless of their branch of service, or the era or conflict in which they served, we all share a common bond."

Minnesota Aviators lead multi-state National Guard partnership for NTC rotation

Posted: 2018-05-21  03:51 PM
2-147 NTC FORT IRWIN, Calif. - The Minnesota National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion is working together with aviation units from four different states to provide support to the Tennessee-based 278th Armored Calvary Regiment during a rotation at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, California.

Making up Task Force Ragnar is Utah-based B Company, 1st Battalion, 211th Assault Reconnaissance Battalion; Nevada-based B Company, 1-189th General Support Aviation Battalion; Michigan-based C Company, 3-238th GSAB; and Minnesota-based A, D, E and Headquarters Companies, 2-147th AHB and F Company, 1-189th GSAB.

"Early coordination with the units across four states combined with exceptional unit leadership and motivated Soldiers helped us to quickly build the task force when we closed on Fort Irwin," said Lt. Col. Kevin O'Brien, Task Force Commander. "I was thoroughly impressed with the professionalism and teamwork of task force Soldiers. This was an outstanding training opportunity that challenged every Soldier to grow as individuals and units daily."

Deployed Minnesota Guardsman honors grandfather, Hmong heritage

Posted: 2018-05-17  09:57 AM
Brandon Xiong CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - "My heritage is Hmong," said 21 year-old Minnesota National Guard Spec. Brandon Xiong from his desk at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. "A low-key culture that originated from southern Asia. Hmong is not a place, but it is a people."

Xiong, the eldest grandson of the late Col. Song Leng Xiong, is deployed in Kuwait as an information technician for Area Support Group - Kuwait.

"We were not nomadic, but have been in many different conflicts," said Xiong. "Many places I go, I am questioned about my nationality and when answered, end up being even more confused. There is a movie called, "Gran Torino", where Clint Eastwood is introduced to the Hmong culture and I think it portrays the Hmong people not so terribly."

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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