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Minnesota National Guard
Veterans Reach Out to the Community During Local Coat Giveaway

Minnesota National Guard ST CLOUD, Minn- Volunteers and community veterans organizations filled the St Cloud Armory drill floor to organize a coat giveaway, Dec 4, 2013

Members of the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 9, along with the St Cloud Beyond the Yellow Ribbon organization, created the event to reach out to people in need

"We collected 80,000 pounds of clothing donated by the surrounding communities to help those in need," said Jim Fountaine of the Disabled American Veterans

The coats were donated by C & L Distributing of Sauk Rapids and were available to veterans, Service members and their family members at no charge Additionally, volunteers were recruited to reach out to citizens in need

"Our goal is not to put us in the spotlight, it's to show that we are here for those that need assistance, especially for those that are afraid to ask," added Fountaine

Organizations and programs like the Disabled American Veterans and Beyond the Yellow Ribbon assist hundreds of veterans and their families around the nation each year Additionally many military and veteran organizations participate in seasonal programs which focus on giving back to the community

Camp Ripley has participated for several years in the Little Falls "Gift Tag" program, where Soldiers and Camp Ripley employees purchase a gift for a family in need Furthermore, employees on post have reached out to the surrounding communities and contributed to local food shelves and clothing drives

"This year Camp Ripley is giving to the Motley food shelf In previous years we have given to the Little Falls and Pierz food shelves," said Maj John Donovan of the Camp Ripley Public Affairs Office

In Minnesota, Soldiers and Airmen use programs like these to show appreciation to the communities where they reside with their families Many believe that giving back to others is truly the best gift

"Reaching out and helping others is not only beneficial for the person in need but is therapeutic in meeting steps for a personal recovery," said Ed Schutz, a Vietnam Veteran who served with the 25th Infantry Division

December 17, 2013
by Staff Sgt Anthony Housey
Camp Ripley Public Affairs

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