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Minnesota National Guard
New Yellow Ribbon program off to good start

Movers and Shakers
by Joe Murphy Published:
Thursday, June 23, 2011 10:48 AM CDT

Once in a while a truly great program comes along that is hard to say no to I believe the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon campaign is that program

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a volunteer organization that matches up military families with neighborhood volunteers who are willing to assist those families with varying tasks when a member is away on active duty

That may not sound like a lot to ask of our neighbors, but to those families who have someone deployed, simply knowing there is a local safety net is extremely comforting

Over the past few months, I and many other elected officials in suburban Ramsey County, along with residents who are interested in becoming a Yellow Ribbon community, have been meeting to begin framing such a local network At each of our planning meetings we’ve continued to increase our membership with elected officials and residents who are willing to sign on and help us in making this goal a reality

You might be asking yourself “How could I help in this effort?” Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer! We are looking for residents willing to volunteer to assist any of those military families in our area that may need help These are not hard tasks; mowing a yard, watching children so mom or dad can go grocery shopping, giving someone a ride to the doctor or shoveling a sidewalk — the list of possibilities is endless Try to imagine your home life when you’re used to having a spouse around to help get the daily chores done, and now they’re gone for 12 to 18 months Or imagine you had a crisis and had nowhere to turn; that’s when the Suburban Ramsey County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network steps in to help!

The cities in suburban Ramsey County will be responsible for collecting and setting up the volunteer database, as well as matching up those military families asking for help with the volunteers from the area

It sounds simple But it’s not Setting up a volunteer network that can be called upon at a moment’s notice to help a military family in the middle of a crisis takes a lot of dedication and effort, but the citizens of northern Ramsey County are just the type of people who will be successful! Neighbors helping neighbors, that’s what we’re all about!

We’re off to a very good start, but there is much work needed to be done before we are certified as an official Yellow Ribbon community I will continue to work with the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee to get the word out over the coming months and to recruit volunteers for this needed and satisfying task If you are interested in joining our committee, becoming a volunteer or you are a military family interested in this venture please feel free to contact either me at 651-247-6442 or Jennifer Nodes at 651-485-7415

Joe Murphy is a Vadnais Heights City Councilman

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