| Welcome home plans forming
First up: Who can help organize celebration?
5:52 PM, Apr 24, 2012
Eleven months ago this week, Central Minnesota said a bittersweet "goodbye and good luck" to more than 200 fellow residents as they joined the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division, 1st Brigade Combat Team in deploying for duty in Iraq and Kuwait
Now those 2,400 troops are returning home, which means it's time for this area to start planning a formal "welcome home" celebration
We write today for two reasons First, we want to hear from those people and organizations interested in helping make this celebration happen Second, consider this your notice to watch for specifics so you can help welcome home these troops and celebrate the service of all area veterans
At this point, an exact time and date has not been selected That will come once unit leaders have had a chance to unpack and look toward the summer However, St Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis said Tuesday the city will provide the location - the new River's Edge Convention Center
With the venue identified, there still will be plenty to do So how can you and your group help?
Please share your name and how you want to help Also, provide a daytime phone number, e-mail address or quickest way to reach you We will compile that information and be in touch as plans come into focus
You can contact us by phone: 255-8762; e-mail: letters@stcloudtimescom; fax: 255-8775 (Label: "Attention: Welcome Home celebration") and mail: Welcome Home c/o Times Opinion Pages, PO Box 768, St Cloud MN 56301
This board has been a part of two similar celebrations in recent years Those have featured loads of information for veterans and families, light refreshments, handmade "welcome home" signs, patriotic music, slide shows, a color guard, kids events and activities, and a formal welcome-home program
Experience teaches us that broad community support is critical For example, key organizers have included the city of St Cloud, the VA Medical Center, 4-H Youth Development/Operation Military Kids, KNSI-AM, Warrior to Citizen and the Qwest Pioneers
Donations and volunteers also are essential East Side VFW Post 4847, Short Stop Custom Catering, Women in the Military and Sauk Rapids Women of Today have helped with those, as have Great River Rotary of Sauk Rapids, and Business Women of Central Minnesota
We welcome assistance from those and any other people and organizations who want to celebrate the return of not just these veterans, but all Central Minnesotans who have sacrificed so much
Camp Ripley earns top environmental award
Posted: 2017-04-26 02:09 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - The Department of Defense announced that Camp Ripley was selected as the winner of the Secretary of Defense Environmental Award for Natural Resources Conservation, Large Installation.
The awards recognize individuals, teams and installations for their exceptional environmental achievements and innovative, cost-effective environmental practices.
"The winners' efforts strengthen the Department of Defense's position as a resourceful environmental steward, both at home and abroad, and demonstrate our continued commitment to fulfilling mission needs through advanced environmental practices and technologies," stated James A. MacStravic, performing the duties of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.
Minnesota Guardsman finds work with victims in the military and the local community rewarding
Posted: 2017-04-26 10:57 AM
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Nicquie Neely has been working with victims of sexual assault for four years in the Minnesota National Guard and also volunteers as a victim advocate in the community. As a victim advocate, it's her job to believe and support victims through a difficult process that can often involve extensive medical care and legal proceedings.
"Ever since I joined the Guard and heard about the SHARP program and learned what a victim advocate was, I always wanted to be one," said Neely. "And then I learned that you had to be an E-6 to be in that position, so the minute I got promoted I asked my commander if I could go to the training."
Neely is a combat medic and the full-time training and administration NCO with Company C, 134th Brigade Support Battalion. In addition to military victim advocate training, Neely also attends regular training with the civilian organization she volunteers for - SOS Sexual Violence Services in Ramsey County.
Minnesota National Guard Remembers the Holocaust with Jewish Community Relations Council
Posted: 2017-04-24 10:43 AM
Washington - Members of the Minnesota National Guard and the Air Force Reserve traveled to Washington D.C. with the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (also known as the JCRC), to visit the Holocaust Museum, April 4, 2017, to honor the victims of the Holocaust. Also, traveling with this group were St. Paul and Minneapolis police officers along with students from various high schools around the state. For those in uniform that day, it was an opportunity to see, hear and experience the stories of victims and survivors of the Holocaust.
Each Service member who attended was asked to bring back a summary of their experience in the form of a presentation, professional discussion or briefing to their respective unit in order to help other Guard members better understand and remember that horrible event, to honor the courage of the victims and survivors, and to remain vigilant as members of the U.S. military.
"The honor and privilege of accompanying members of the Minnesota National Guard to the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. met so many goals," said Steve Hunegs, the executive director of the JCRC. "I wanted to reinforce the importance of the commitment of the U.S. military to democracy. After all, it was the Allies that defeated Nazi Germany and ultimately put an end to the Holocaust."
Learning to instruct professionalism and discipline
Posted: 2017-04-19 02:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn. - It was a challenging and rewarding two weeks for members attending the Army National Guard Funeral Honors Instructor Course, April 1-14, at Camp Ripley.
Soldiers of National Guard units from all over the United States took part in the course designed to educate team leaders in a variety of funeral honor detail tasks, traditions and responsibilities.
"It's a stressful course, but for our job, we have to be prepared to do our job under stress; and we all really benefitted from that," said Class Honor Grad, Sgt. Ryan Valline of the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry.