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Minnesota National Guard
Apple Valley Works to Become Yellow Ribbon City

The city of Apple Valley has decided to initiate a process that, when finished, will bring the community together to better support military members and their families

The Yellow Ribbon Community Campaign is a part of the Minnesota National Guard's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program

The sacrifices military members make as part of their service are well known But some people may overlook the other sacrifices they and their families make—financial, relational and educational—all of which could take a toll on any family

Military families' needs for support has the city of Apple Valley putting forth an initiative to better help military families in the future

On Monday, Apple Valley begins the process of becoming a Yellow Ribbon City Yellow Ribbon Cities are part of the Yellow Ribbon Community Campaign, which is part of the Minnesota National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program

The community campaign brings a local community together to gather resources and provide support for Minnesotans in the military and their families during and after deployment

Surrounding communities such as Lakeville, Farmington and Eagan have already become Yellow Ribbon Cities Bruce Folken, who is a member of the Dakota County Human Services Advisory Committee and is heading up the Apple Valley Yellow Ribbon initiative, said the goal in coming years is to have all of Dakota County’s communities become Yellow Ribbon communities

Many efforts already are happening in the Apple Valley community to help military members and their families, but Folken said the Yellow Ribbon campaign aims those efforts under one roof

“You’ve got so many different groups doing something on their own,” Folken said “But this gives us the ability to interconnect in one collaborative effort”

While the process to become a Yellow Ribbon City isn’t particularly difficult, it’s one that takes organization and community support Folken must organize a committee of volunteers from many different parts of the city including city administration, faith-based organizations, the business community, safety services and others to put together an action plan that will end up being a 16-step process

The very beginnings of the process started more than three months ago as a small group led by Folken The group is being mentored by the city of Lakeville, which became a Yellow Ribbon City last September

The biggest challenge for those starting a Yellow Ribbon campaign is finding families that need help, Folken said Many families may need help but are afraid to ask someone for support, he said

Officials hope complete the process by spring So far, the group has seen a good turnout among veterans and the general population, and looks forward to building a program that will make Apple Valley more supportive of military members and their families in the future  

“The city has been really supportive,” Folken said “We are gathering more and more support, and it all starts from the ground up” 

Apple Valley's Yellow Ribbon kickoff meeting is scheduled for 6:30 pm at the Apple Valley American Legion

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