| Beyond the Yellow Ribbon helps recognize military men and women
No matter what your position on the wars, we honor the warriors this Veterans Week.
Gone are the days, thank goodness, when warriors who returned from the Vietnam War were greeted shamefully.
Now, communities across the state are organizing Beyond the Yellow Ribbon units, designed to organize their resources and to help military families in every way possible, particularly those recently deployed or returning from deployment.
These families and those returning from deployment face challenges adjusting to civilian life and to their families.
The National Guard particularly is involving Yellow Ribbon units to help their members adjust to civilian life.
One challenge for those who have organized Yellow Ribbon units is locating the families who need the help and are reluctant to ask for it. Due to privacy laws, their military units are not able to provide those names.
The hope of Yellow Ribbon units is that if organized, families will come forward.
So, this is an appeal to military families to come forward if you need help and your Yellow Ribbon community will go out of its way to assist you.
There also is a State Yellow Ribbon web site for guidance.
A Yellow Ribbon community has to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to be certified by the state. A steering committee writes the plan and follows it up after state certification. That plan has key areas of city leadership, veterans organizations, K-12 education and youth programs, public safety and judicial, business and employers, faith based, medical, social services and volunteer groups.
Yellow Ribbon organizers are finding that initially families are asking for little things: repairing, fixing pluming and electrical problems, mowing lawns, painting houses, caring for children.
One example is a mother who needed help to move from her home in St. Cloud to her parents’ home in Brooklyn Park; 17 Yellow Ribbon members helped her.
Annette Kuyper, director of military outreach, says so many veterans feel alone and isolated and now Minnesota has Beyond the Yellow Ribbon networks to support them.
At first, the program began to help National Guard members and was expanded to include all members of the military and veterans.
Now when the warriors come home from the war, they are welcomed, not spat upon, in part because Yellow Ribbon communities have come together to help and to thank those who have sacrificed much for our country.
November 5, 2012
Don Heinzman is a columnist and editorial writer for ECM Publishers, Inc.
Home Town Source
Minnesota Guardsman overcomes severe injury with positive attitude, hard work
Posted: 2015-03-04 09:39 AM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- A little more than a year after Chief Warrant Officer 2 James Houdek was severely injured in a farming accident near his Little Falls, Minn., home, he is back to work with the Minnesota National Guard and adapting to life with a prosthetic.
"When I came out of the first surgery, they were telling me that they were hoping that within a year I would be able to hold a pen," said Houdek. "Since then I've come a lot further, a lot more than what they had thought."
On Nov. 12, 2013, Houdek took a day off from his full-time job as a wage leader at Camp Ripley's Consolidated Maintenance Activity - South to harvest corn on his 60-acre hobby farm. Halfway through, he stopped to check on his machinery, leaving the tractor running. When he went to clear some corn out of the husking bin of the picker, his right arm was pulled into the shaft. As he was trying to pull his right hand out, his left hand got caught in another shaft, trapping both his arms in the machine.
Norwegian Home Guard gets inter-agency training
Posted: 2015-02-25 03:15 PM
CAMP RIPLEY, Minn.- Soldiers of the Norwegian Home Guard conducted inter-agency training with state and local law enforcement, Feb. 12-23, 2015, at Camp Ripley.
"The training conducted by the Norwegian Rapid Reaction Force, or RRF, is based on the National Guard's focus of inter-agency cooperation in time of need," said Lt. Col. Bryce Erickson of the Minnesota National Guard.
The training was organized as part of the American-Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange; which is in its 42nd consecutive year between the Minnesota National Guard and the Norwegian Home Guard.
Minnesota, Norwegian service members retrace a successful mission, remember the terrible cost
Posted: 2015-02-24 10:14 AM
SNAASA, Norway- Airmen and Soldiers of the Minnesota National Guard participating in the 42nd American - Norwegian Reciprocal Troop Exchange (NOREX) retraced the steps of U.S. and Norwegian special operators 70 years ago who, during the final months of World War II, waged a successful sabotage campaign against German forces occupying Norway.
The U.S. Service members, along with their Norwegian counterparts, completed a 12-mile trek on skis through mountainous terrain, as well as a reconnaissance of the Jorstad bridge and simulated demolition using signal flares. The field training exercise concluded, February 19, 2015, with a ceremony in honor of those who destroyed the bridge to stop the movement of German troops through Norway and a wreath-laying in memory of the 80 people who perished, January 13, 1945, when a train derailed into the icy water several hours after the demolition.
148th Fighter Wing 1st Sgt. Assists in Saving a Life
Posted: 2015-02-23 11:06 AM
DULUTH, Minn.- Whether he is performing his duties at the 148th Fighter Wing, Duluth, Minn., or volunteering as the Fire Chief for the Rice Lake Volunteer Fire Department, Senior Master Sgt. Scott Twining epitomizes the Air Force core value of "service before self".
As a member of the volunteer fire department and a first responder, Twining and the rest of the Rice Lake Fire Department team are often the first emergency response personnel to get to a scene. Twining estimates that 80 percent of their calls are for medical emergencies.
On Jan. 7, 2015, Twining and other members of the fire department responded to a call for help at a local business establishment. Upon their arrival, a male in his mid-fifties was collapsing from a heart attack. After a quick medical assessment, Twining and other team members set up a defibrillator and began to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).