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Minnesota National Guard
Farmington plays host to Yellow Ribbon Summit

Thirty entities, including Lakeville, proclaimed Yellow Ribbon cities by Gov Pawlenty at summit Farmington, the first Minnesota city to be named a Yellow Ribbon City, played host to the first Yellow Ribbon Summit on Wednesday, Sept 22, at Boeckman Middle School

Counties, cities and companies were recognized for their ongoing support of service members and military family members, including Lakeville and Dakota County Technical College

Hundreds showed up to the event where more than 30 entities were officially given a Yellow Ribbon designation

“Their action plans demonstrate a commitment and understanding that they are suited to support their military families today and into the future,” said Annette Kuyper, event organizer and state director of military outreach

Gov Tim Pawlenty spoke during the proclamation ceremony

“I am really proud that Farmington was the first Yellow Ribbon City,” he said, noting that Farmington and Lakeville recently offered support to one military soldier’s family after he was injured

The Yellow Ribbon networks were tested when Farmington graduate Kyle Malin lost both legs in an explosion in Afghanistan Both communities rallied around the family to support his parents, who live in Lakeville, and his wife and two children

“The family was encircled with people who cared,” Pawlenty said

Tim O’Driscoll, mayor of Sartell, said his city has been a Yellow Ribbon city for two and a half years in the Central Ribbon Beyond the River Consortium, which includes nine cities in central Minnesota

Sartell hosted a videoconference in December 2009 that gave 120 deployed service members the chance to see and talk with family members

“We have been able to network and serve the families in need … and it is easier on paper than practice,” O’Driscoll said

Farmington Mayor Todd Larson said it was an honor to be recognized as the first Yellow Ribbon City in 2008, but it was a greater honor to host the summit

Proud to have Annette Kuyper as its local leader of the Farmington Warrior to Citizen – a community support group for military members and families – Larson said Farmington has now become a role model across the state

Businesses, civic groups, churches or citizens can get involved as volunteers or work to form a Yellow Ribbon Network by contacting Kuyper at (651) 282-4002 or visiting www.beyondtheyellowribbon.org

Pawlenty said all Yellow Ribbon Networks are working toward one common goal, and that is to “minimize the pain for service members and their families while addressing all the challenges”

“We want to provide care and support for individuals and our communities … because there are incredibly-brave heroes who raise their hand and put their life on the line for our country,” Pawlenty said

Challenging the state to respond, Pawlenty said, “We all have to look in the mirror and say, ‘What can we do?’”

Kara Hildreth is at farmingtonthisweek@ecm-inccom
by Kara Hildreth
Thisweek Newspapers
Posted under Farmington, Lakeville, News, This Week in Dakota County on Thursday 23 September 2010 at 6:29 am

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