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Minnesota National Guard
Our View: Celebrate 'Yellow Ribbon'

Wednesday marks a huge day for Central Minnesota!
Nine area cities - Cold Spring, Richmond, Rockville, Sartell, Sauk Rapids, St Augusta, St Cloud, St Joseph and Waite Park - will be officially proclaimed Minnesota's first Yellow Ribbon Region by Gov Tim Pawlenty and the Minnesota National Guard

The honor, to be bestowed at a ceremony in Farmington, culminates an effort that started about three years ago as part of the Warrior-to-Citizen initiative

Through the Guard's pioneering Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, dozens of people from these nine cities have worked to help reintegrate our soldiers with their communities upon their return from active duty They also support soldiers and families in deployments

While several individual cities have received the Yellow Ribbon designation, Central Minnesota is the first region to earn it Officially known as the Central Minnesota Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Initiative, its key leaders will be in Farmington to accept the honor

Of equal importance, though, for area residents: You are invited to attend a similar local ceremony Sept 27 at St Cloud State University

As part of the Annual Warrior to Citizens Fall Conference, university President Earl H Potter III will provide the welcoming remarks and the Yellow Ribbon designation Everyone is welcome Preregistration is required Visit wwwstcloudstateedu/careerservices/warrior/defaultasp for information

For full disclosure, Times Media - through this Editorial Board - is active in Warrior to Citizen

In helping earn the region's Yellow Ribbon designation, the Central Minnesota Warrior to Citizen initiative has compiled an impressive list of achievements Some highlights include:
Launch of the website wwww2ccentralmnorg in August Also, Facebook users can join the Central MN Warrior to Citizen group

In December, the initiative held a live video teleconference with the Guard's 34th Infantry "Red Bull" Soldiers in Iraq The goal was to educate them about employment, education and health care opportunities available to them after their deployment

The initiative has trained Central Minnesota employers on working with service members, veterans and families
And the initiative helped hold a welcome home celebration in March to thank veterans and families

Overall, more than 30 organizations participate on the Warrior to Citizen planning team, and at least 300 residents have participated in its sessions and events the past three years

Kudos to all!

The Central Minnesota Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Initiative is a group of citizens and organizations working to support service members and families of service members who are deployed or who have returned from deployment in service to our nation All interested members of the community are invited to become involved More information can be found at wwww2ccentralmnorg

Times Editorial Board "¢ September 19, 2010

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