| Minn. Guard veterans get help in return to family life
by Jessica Mador, Minnesota Public Radio
May 14, 2012 MAHTOMEDI, Minn — In 2009 when Kevin Ross left for Iraq with the Minnesota National Guard, he and his wife, Emily, had two children
When he returned they had three The children had grown so much Ross hardly recognized one of his daughters
"The night I got home I remember we are standing in that final formation in the armory," he says, "and I looked out and I saw a little girl sitting on the floor crying As I got closer I hugged my wife and realized that that was my child"
Kevin, 31, a member of the Willmar-based 682nd Engineer Battalion, was away from home for about 18 months
For Emily, 32, holding down the homefront alone and single parenting their two daughters and son (Elena, 9, Lucy, 6, and Isaac, two-and-a-half) was difficult
It was an even bigger adjustment when he got back
"And his responsibilities were all centered around him," she says, "and then coming back to a household of five people and a wife who's been dealing with it alone all this time and is ready for a break, I think it took some time for him to readjust to even what his responsibilities in the family were"
Kevin says it took months before things felt normal "With a deployment it kind of seems to reset the clock, so you go back and you have to relearn how to communicate with each other," he says
The Rosses are one of more than 120 recently deployed military families participating in a groundbreaking University of Minnesota study that aims to make this transition easier
It's called ADAPT (After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools)
ADAPT researchers observe parents and their children to try and understand deployment stress At the same time, researchers are testing parenting techniques on the families
Lead investigator Abi Gewirtz says the goal is to create special parenting tools for military families
"What we know about families under stress, whether it's stress due to deployment or stress due to any other family transition, is that when families are stressed it's parenting that is hit," Gewirtz says
And that affects children
To find out how, Gewirtz and a team from the U and the Minneapolis VA developed a special program for military families with children age 5 to 12 They assign each family to one of two groups: In one they receive written parenting resources In the other they participate in 14-week parenting workshops
Gewirtz says the program teaches parents to communicate effectively with their children and reduce conflict
"Instead of doing what we what we call a drive-by direction -- you know, when you walk past the child and say, 'OK, time to pick up your stuff now,' and go to the other room and then the child is like, 'Huh?' Or a long-distance direction, 'Honey, can you come down now, please!' -- you know, these are more convenient for us but they don't serve us well"
ADAPT recommends that parents give short, simple, face-to-face directions and that they use praise and incentives to encourage good behavior While all families could use the techniques ADAPT teaches, there is new and growing recognition among military leaders that supporting military families makes stronger soldiers
"You know they train the soldiers; you might as well train the families along with them"
- Emily Ross, on a parenting program for military families
At home in Mahtomedi, Kevin Ross stands next to his son and asks him to help set the table as his wife, Emily, makes dinner
While Isaac is too young for the program, the Rosses say the ADAPT techniques have made a big difference with all their children
Before the study, Ross says he would have handled things differently
"I probably would have asked him once or twice and gotten frustrated and done it myself" Ross says learning to speak to his children on their level is very different from what he learned in the military There, soldiers are expected to follow orders without discussion or complaint
The Rosses agree ADAPT isn't a magic bullet The children do not follow directions every time But they have responded positively to the new techniques
Emily Ross says she would like to see ADAPT expanded and shared with military families across the United States
"And it's been wonderful for our family, and we know it would be wonderful for other families as well," she says "It should almost be a requirement for families going through this that they go through training like this You know they train the soldiers; you might as well train the families along with them"
Over the next five years ADAPT researchers will recruit 400 Minnesota military families and follow them
The program is also expanding outside of the metro area, St Cloud and Mankato to serve more recently returned soldiers outstate
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.
Chaplains support Muslim Soldiers by finding common ground
Posted: 2017-04-18 01:42 PM
ROSEMOUNT, Minn. - The Soldiers of the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division had a unique opportunity to speak with one of the U.S. Army's five Muslim chaplains April 7-10, 2017. U.S. Army Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Khallid Shabazz, I Corps deputy command chaplain, travelled from Fort Lewis, Washington, to Minnesota to provide professional development for the division chaplain section.
"Soldiers perform at a higher level when they are spiritually fit," said Minnesota National Guard Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Buddy Winn, the 34th Red Bull Infantry Division command chaplain. "And, it's our job as chaplains to make sure Soldiers have their spiritual needs met, regardless of faith. Having Chaplain Shabazz here as a Muslim Chaplain provides the diversity in religious background that we can't provide internally."
There are five major religions supported by the chaplaincy: Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist, but over 200 religions are recognized. Chaplains can only perform services for their particular religion, but they can provide support for all Soldiers, regardless of their faith.
Howling with pride - Minnesota Service members honored by MN Timberwolves
Posted: 2017-04-14 04:25 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn. - For the third consecutive year, Minnesota service members were honored with on-court recognition and other VIP treatments as part of the Minnesota Timberwolves Heroes of the Pack Program.
"We are very appreciative for what the military does for us, and we wanted to give something back to honor the military," said Roger McCabe, who along with wife, Nancy, is a driving force behind the recognitions through the FastBreak Foundation and Roger & Nancy McCabe Foundation. "This is our way of doing it."
Having lived through the Vietnam War - and with Roger and Nancy both having parents who served - the two philanthropists decided a few years back to build upon existing recognition efforts already underway by the Timberwolves. And with that, recognitions that were typically happening at Target Center in November expanded to include Minnesota Service members from all branches at every home game - a total of 41 honorees per season.