/*********************************************** * Chrome CSS Drop Down Menu- (c) Dynamic Drive DHTML code library (www.dynamicdrive.com) * This notice MUST stay intact for legal use * Visit Dynamic Drive at http://www.dynamicdrive.com/ for full source code ***********************************************/
Minnesota National Guard
Forest Lake goes above and beyond with Yellow Ribbon designation

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon proclamation caps 15-month process

Mayor Chris Johnson, Roger Fredsall, Krista Goodyear and Anne Miller celebrate during last week’s program (Photo by Clint Riese)
Clint Riese
News Editor

It was not a typical commute for the caravan headed south from Forest Lake into the metro last Wednesday – it was the final leg of a long journey

It was also the road to a celebration, as Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie proclaimed Forest Lake to be a Yellow Ribbon City during an emotional ceremony at St Peter’s Catholic Church in Richfield

For the group of about a dozen representing Forest Lake, the occasion was cause for hugs, tears and high-fives

Why all the hubbub for a designation?

Not only does it mark the culmination of more than a year’s work, it also makes Forest Lake one of the few cities in the north metro to have in place such a framework of support for veterans, current service members and their families

Setting the Framework

In 2008, the Minnesota National Guard founded Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR), a combat veteran reintegration program providing service members and their families a network of support It is modeled after the Department of Defense’s Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program, but extends a wider range of services Specifically, it does not limit its functions to the 90-day-post-deployment mark Rather, it extends its services to all veterans

“The whole thing is beyond the yellow ribbon,” says Vietnam War veteran Roger Fredsall, the VFW Post 4210 senior vice commander “The Yellow Ribbon is originally and normally designed to welcome people back – you have your 90-day reintegration program It turns out that a lot of these people need assistance past the 90 days, and that’s where this Beyond the Yellow Ribbon came on”

Participation statewide has grown steadily to over 200 communities Other than Blaine and Hugo, though, there was a void to the north of the Twin Cities

Fredsall was among the first handful of locals who came together last year to explore the idea of Forest Lake joining Beyond the Yellow Ribbon The group first met late that July, a steering committee was formed and a fall festival that October signaled the official start of the march toward BTYR designation

The group’s eagerness showed through several events and efforts In addition to the fall festival, it held a holiday party for children, went caroling, sponsored a family for Christmas, sent care packages to troops, entered a float in the Fourth of July Parade and served about 250 people at a military appreciation picnic at Lakeside Park in July

“They’ve told us we’ve done more things before we became a Yellow Ribbon City than some of the actual Yellow Ribbon Cities have done,” says American Legion Post 225 Commander Krista Goodyear, who chairs the BTYR steering committee

Events are only one part of what the program is all about, though While the board worked on draft after draft of the action plan required for BTYR consideration, volunteers mowed and raked yards, cleaned gutters, offered plumbing services and the like

Such services will continue to form the backbone of the local chapter A network of individuals and businesses have pledged to offer free and reduced products or labor

Having those contacts in place has opened doors For example, a local family in mourning recently wanted to direct memorials to a family of a service member Roberts Family Funeral Home, a member of the local BTYR group, informed the steering committee, which located a family who needed help paying for child care The memorial amount matched just what the family needed

“A lot of these services are already in place at both the VFW and the American Legion This just kinds of dovetails in and brings everybody in, and brings all the different pieces of the community in,” says Goodyear, noting that the executive committee has representatives from the school district, churches, hospitals, public safety organizations and the city government “It reaches a broader range of people than just the VFW and the American Legion”

Still, the BTYR group is always looking for more locals in need The biggest challenge is not securing the help but getting those in need to reach out for it It is not like the old days where returning veterans quickly joined the Legion or VFW

“The younger generation, they’re just kind of trickling in,” says Goodyear “They’re coming back and they’re going to school and getting married and having families, so the Legion and the VFW are not getting them in to request help”

The steering committee is confident that last week’s proclamation will increase awareness of the local chapter Plus, it will continue to host events Organizers hope to make the military appreciation picnic an annual fundraiser Another effort already is, as the group’s second annual fall festival will take place this Saturday at the Legion hall Booya, a meat raffle and a Texas hold’em tournament are on tap from 1-6 pm, with live music starting at 7 pm

Making it Official

Forest Lake joined Chaska and Chanhassen as the newest Yellow Ribbon Cities last Wednesday

The ceremony was brief and to the point, yet full of excitement and pride

Diane Finnemann is greeted by Maj. Gen. Richard Nash, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard (Photo by Clint Riese)

Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard, Major General Richard Nash, expressed his thanks to the new chapters and said he hears firsthand of the program’s success

“It is through the leadership of patriotic Minnesotans like all of you here today that the lives of our service members and families have been impacted so positively,” he said “Each of you certainly model the behavior of how communities unite, come together, synchronize your support for our service members, veterans, family members and our employers and I sincerely appreciate all that you do and all that you will be doing in our three new communities”

Secretary of State Ritchie then took the podium for the moment everyone had been waiting for He read the three proclamations as one-by-one the delegations met with Maj. Gen. Nash and other officials and received a banner

“We take care of each other in Minnesota; in times of need we are especially attentive,” Ritchie said “But we also know that in other times we need to build the structures so that they’re there when we especially need them, and that’s what the Yellow Ribbon program is – part of building that structure for the times we shall see but also the things we can’t imagine but we know will challenge us in the near future”

By Clint Riese on October 17, 2012 at 9:38 am

Celebration Set
The public is invited to celebrate the proclamation of Forest Lake as a Yellow Ribbon City from 5:30 to 7 pm next Monday, Oct 22 at city hall Refreshments and information on the local Beyond the Yellow Ribbon chapter will be available

Related posts:
Article source

Articles archive

In The News archive

Media Advisory archive

Latest News

Forging a path to career success

Posted: 2018-03-16  08:45 AM
Col. Angela Steward-Randle ST. PAUL, Minn. - Col. Angela Steward-Randle grew up in a military family - her father served in the Army on active duty - but it was a chance encounter with a friend at college that led her to want to make the military a career.

"My story is no different than many others," Steward-Randle, the Director of Human Resources, Manpower and Personnel for the Minnesota National Guard said. "I was in college and looking for financial resources to help pay for it."

Her college friend suggested they attend a summer training with the Reserve Officer Training Corps that had no obligation and could earn them some money. The friend never ended up going, but Steward-Randle did. After earning recognition as the top honor graduate and receiving an offer of a scholarship, she was hooked.

Minnesota Guardsman Receives Award for Combating Drugs in his Community

Posted: 2018-03-09  03:13 PM
Counterdrug WOODBURY, Minn. - Staff Sgt. Benjamin Kroll, an analyst with the Minnesota National Guard's Counterdrug Task Force who is assigned to work with the Hennepin County Sherriff's Office was recognized for his achievements as the Analyst of the Year during the 2018 Minnesota Association of Crime and Intelligence Analysts Training Symposium in Woodbury, Minnesota, March 7, 2018.

Through a partnership with Minnesota law enforcement agencies throughout the state, the Minnesota National Guard Counterdrug Task Force (MNCDTF) supports the anti-drug initiatives to counter all primary drug threats and vulnerabilities through the effective application of available assets, said Maj. Jon Dotterer, Counterdrug Coordinator for the State of Minnesota. The goal for the program is to support federal, state, tribal, and local agencies in the detection, disruption, interdiction, and curtailment of illicit drugs.

Kroll is one of sixteen service members on the Counterdrug Task Force that provides this force-multiplying service to our communities against illicit drug-use. With the information that law enforcement provide through their patrols and daily operations, Kroll and his colleagues across the state assist by putting together a figurative picture with all of the gathered information which aids in identifying how to move forward with legal action to deter or prevent the sale or use of illegal narcotic drugs.

Women Opened Doors in Minnesota National Guard

Posted: 2018-03-08  09:05 AM
Minnesota National Guard ST. PAUL, Minn. - "The battlefront is no place for women to be," said Command Sgt. Maj. Earl Kurtzweg, 125th Field Artillery, in an article published in 1976. "There are certain jobs girls say they can do, but they just can't do ... the battlefront is no place for women to be. Other countries in the world use women in combat, but the U.S. has not come around to that way of thinking." Kathy Berg, a New Ulm reporter summarized at the time. "So women in the New Ulm unit take care of personnel files and pay records and leave the fighting to the men."

The Minnesota National Guard has "come around to that way of thinking" since those early days of gender integration. In the last 44 years women have made momentous strides toward inclusion and acceptance. Their accomplishments are testimony to their fortitude and the progressive development of the Minnesota National Guard.

When an accomplished female Soldier is credited with breaking barriers she will often pass that honor to the women that preceded her. Brig. Gen. Johanna Clyborne is such a leader. She acknowledges that she is one of the first females in the Minnesota National Guard who has held key leadership roles, however she sees it differently. "I feel responsible for all women in uniform," said Clyborne. "Women before me opened the door, now I've cleared the room. It's up to the women behind me to hold the room."

Securing the Bold North: Minnesota National Guard supports Super Bowl LII

Posted: 2018-02-02  10:45 PM
Super Bowl 52 MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - More than 400 Minnesota National Guardsmen are supporting security efforts in Minneapolis ahead of Super Bowl 52.

"This is what we do," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "When the local community can't meet the public safety needs, they come to the Guard. We're their normal partner, we're a natural partner, and we're their preferred partner when it comes to filling in the gaps that they can't fill."

At the request of the city, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton authorized the Minnesota National Guard to provide support to security efforts leading up to and during Super Bowl 52. The Guardsmen are providing direct support to and working alongside law enforcement officers from across the state. Like their civilian law enforcement partners, Minnesota Guardsmen are focused on ensuring a safe experience for the residents and visitors who are attending the Super Bowl festivities.

Article archive