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Minnesota National Guard
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
Article source
http://www.sctimes.com/article/20120425/OPINION/304250005/Our-View-Welcome-home-plans-forming?odyssey=nav|head&nclick_check=1



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