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Minnesota National Guard
Blaine will seek Yellow Ribbon City status

City officials announced last week Blaine will seek Minnesota National Guard Yellow Ribbon status The program provides a support network for military families

Mayor Tom Ryan and City Manager Clark Arneson met in November with guard representatives to discuss the program

The Blaine City Council Dec 2 unanimously approved a resolution supporting the program

In a memo to the council, Arneson reported that 27 cities, counties and organizations currently have been proclaimed Yellow Ribbon Cities throughout the state

Arneson said there is no cost for the city to participate in the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign, which is specifically designed to increase the awareness of the challenges service members and especially families face as a result of deployments

The Yellow Ribbon campaign asks counties, cities, companies, churches, campuses and K-12 schools to support military families in their immediate community
Participating cities initially form a committee, which drafts a sustainable action plan, which is submitted to the Minnesota National Guard for additional review and the governor for final approval and issuance of an official proclamation

The Minnesota National Guard program empowers community leaders to synchronize their assistance efforts throughout a particular deployment

Ryan has spoke with Blaine-based Aveda Corp
representatives and said the company would represent business on the planning committee

“They [local members of the military] have been terrific for this country and I think we need to remember who they are,” Ryan said “Once these people leave [as part of a deployment] their families, wives and children are forgotten We need a committee to come forward with ideas of how we are going to support them locally”

Councilmember Katherine Kolb, a teacher in Independent School District 15 in St Francis, said she’s directly observed the impact of a deployment by watching her students

“You are surprised how many are going,” Kolb said “Every year, I’ve had a least one student [in class] who has had a parent gone and many of them are on their second or third deployment You would be surprised how many are impacted”

Kolb was in favor of a resolution in support of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program, but it would be important for the community to come together and carry the program forward after councilmembers got things rolling, she said
“I think it should be like Blaine’s Blazin’’ 4th, where the community comes together and does it,” Kolb said “I think we have to be careful how much we [as a council] get involved because it could take a lot of time I still think it’s awesome”

Councilmember Wes Hovland said groups such as the Patriot Guard should be contacted, as well as VFW and American Legion posts in Blaine and around the area “They can offer a lot and provide a lot of support,” Hovland said

Arneson told the council a city kickoff workshop is one of the first tasks associated with a community’s involvement in a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign

“I don’t think it will be hard to put together a committee,” Ryan said “Spring Lake Park is already in this We are 60,000 people We should be in it”

Tim Hennagir is at timhennagir@ecm-inccom
Friday, December 10, 2010 7:01 am
by Tim Hennagir
Life Editor

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