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Minnesota National Guard
Richfield is a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community

By Billie Jo Rassat - Sun Newspapers
Published: Wednesday, August 17, 2011 2:15 PM CDT
Hard work, determination and love of self, family, community and country are just of the few qualities that make any United States service member successful

The city of Richfield began the process to become a Yellow Ribbon City and because of their hard work, determination and love of self, family, community and country they will be recognized for their efforts to provide military base-like care in the community

On Tuesday, Aug 23, at a proclamation event held at the Inver Hills Community College Auditorium, 2500 80th St E, Inver Grove Heights, where Gov Mark Dayton and Minnesota's Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, will honor the city of Richfield for becoming a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon community

The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program was designed to connect service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources

After many meetings the steering committee, led by Richfield City Councilmember Tom Fitzhenry, along with leaders from city groups, community clubs, religious organizations, public and private schools, submitted a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Action Plan for state level approval, according to Staff Sgt Aaron Hoska, and was approved

"Richfield has been doing so much for veterans already, I didn't have to do much more than put the pieces together," Fitzhenry said

The mission statement of the plan is to ensure the community supports military families To do this the Richfield Citizen's Committee will act as liaison between community and the military

The plan is divided into key areas and within those areas specific actions and minimal requirements are designated to be followed through by the supporting party to ensure the goals of Yellow Ribbon support

The plan also states who is responsible for making sure the requirements are being met

The key areas focus on the basic needs each military family has when coming home from deployment of financial planning, accessible health care, community awareness, quality employment, family support and education

The specific key areas complied by the Richfield steering committee within the action plan includes City Leadership, Richfield Yellow Ribbon Citizen's Committee, Public Safety and Judicial, Faith Based, Veteran Organizations and Civic Organizations, Businesses or Employers, Social Services and Medical Providers, and Education and Youth

Some of the detailed action items under the key areas include activating volunteers to support community-wide welcome home events for groups and individuals and for the Richfield Public Safety and Fire Departments to actively seek out children of military families for the Richfield Safety Camp or teens of military families to join the Richfield Police Explorers

Other action items include religious organizations to offer marriage resources, retreats and counseling for deploying/reintegrating couples including courses in "Making a Marriage Deployment Ready" and "Loving a Service Member' and local Richfield businesses to create a network of volunteers and support resources to provide financial literacy education, create a mentor program for services such as financial, tax and general fiscal planning information and assistance and to assist with resume and employment applications to service members and military families

"We have a lot of military personnel in our community We want to make them welcomed and have support for them in our community," Fitzhenry said

For more information about Richfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, visit richfieldyellowribbonorg

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