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Minnesota National Guard
Ribbon Campaign Continues Support (video)

An effort is expanding to help minnesota military families during deployment The military family care initiative was launched in 2003, by the state's first lady, Mary Pawlenty It's a web site that connects families with hundreds of community-based organizations willing to provide volunteer or discount services

And, as many soldiers know, military deployment means major changes That includes military families at Duluth's 148th Fighter Wing

Among them was Michelle Gappa Gappa's husband has been deployed three times over the last five years With two kids at home, she needed a hand

"I just got online and Googled for some help and found the first lady's web site and it was perfect," Gappa said "It matched me up with volunteers that had no problem coming out and helping us out"

Gappa's referring to the "Beyond the Yellow Ribbon" Campaign It's a web site that connects families with volunteers and was started by Mary Pawlenty

 "[It's] things like cutting the grass, cleaning the garage, painting the fence Anything that one neighbor might naturally do for another," Mrs Pawlenty said

It's simple gestures that go a long way The 148th's Jodi Stauber has seen that need

"Deployment has been kind of referred to as a canoe When you take someone out of a canoe, it gets very tippy and deployment is much the same way," said Stauber, a coordinator for the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campaign "When you take a family member out of the family it gets very rocky and very tippy And when you try to jump that member back into the canoe again, it gets very tippy again"

Businesses are also being urged to volunteer their time

"if [families] can see which businesses will provide a product or a service, such as plumbing, at a discounted rate, that is very affirming and helpful to that military family," said Dave Ross, president of the Duluth Chamber of Commerce

It's the kind of services and volunteerism that continue the long-tradition of military support

Posted at: 07/29/2010 8:09 AM
By: Dayna Landgrebe

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