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Minnesota National Guard
Operation Helping Hands for Hometown Heroes

Minnesota National Guard MINNEAPOLIS, Minn- A Minneapolis-based company pitched in to provide a brighter Christmas for 94 military families throughout Minnesota this year Volunteers from US Bank partnered with the Minnesota National Guard's Family Assistance Centers to identify military families in need during the holiday season

"US Bank values Minnesota Service members and the sacrifices they make each and every day," said Melinda Thein, US Bank Business Line Risk Analyst To recognize those sacrifices, US Bank came up with a project called "Operation Helping Hands for Hometown Heroes" which granted Christmas wishes for military families this season This is one of many examples of how Minnesota companies feel compelled to support the troops

US Bank is one of 34 companies in Minnesota to be recognized as Yellow Ribbon Companies, which signifies their commitment to hiring and supporting military members, veterans and their families

Thein explained, "It takes many hands and a lot of organization to make something like this come together" US Bank teams and individuals identified themselves as wanting to participate in this project With a simple phone call, they were connected with a program coordinator at a local Military Family Assistance Center, or FAC FACs are part of the Minnesota National Guard's Yellow Ribbon Readiness Services and played a critical role in identifying military families on the companies behalf

"We asked the FAC to identify Minnesota military families who could use a few merry tidings and good cheer this holiday season," Thein relayed This connection allowed military members to remain anonymous yet still provided very specific details of the needs and wants of the family units such as the number of people within the family and their ages The families were asked to complete a "wish list" and that wish list was passed on to the teams

"We will do whatever we can to find families to adopt," said Christina Rost, Military Family Assistance Specialist adding that, "Melinda and US Bank made it possible for us to reach out to these families"

The efforts of many individuals and teams at US Bank started snowballing and gathering momentum In total 94 Minnesota military families were sponsored by 94 different teams The end state Thein describes as, "three rooms spilling over with presents, families filled with hope and gratitude coming to get their bundles, and outlier FAC representatives coming to pick up bundles for families from their region of Minnesota"

Vern Traux, the Rosemount FAC program coordinator expressed, "I think the biggest part is making sure everyone who has sacrificed to serve gets what they need at the holidays, even if it means traveling all over the state to distribute gifts and donation It's not charity; we just want to make sure everyone has a good holiday"

There are a few families and teams who asked to meet one another The meetings have been set with the help of the FAC US Bank teams have decorated their work areas in preparation to receive their families in person when the family chooses to come receive their bundle of gifts

Thein went on to describe that, "US Bank teams engaged in a selfless act with nothing to gain other than knowing that each team was helping someone, or a family, from our local military community The fact is that, though our US Bank teams are blessing military families in a profound way this holiday season, the teams are finding that they are being doubly blessed! This project has been a great team building and leadership opportunity for employees within the bank When good intentions drive an objective, nothing but good can come out of it, for both those receiving and for those giving"

During the holiday season local community organizations often rally around the spirit of giving driving the work load of the FACs into full throttle Mike Farren, the FAC Supervisor explains, "We are in a heightened state of operations during the holiday but if there is anyone who needs anything they can reach out us 24-7 no matter what time of year"

For the most current information on the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Campaign and to learn more go to wwwbtyrorg

December 19, 2013
by Staff Sgt Jennifer J Rechtfertig
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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Month of the Military Child recognizes contributions of military kids

Posted: 2018-04-07  01:54 PM
Minnesota National Guard FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 7, 2018

ST. PAUL, Minn.- The month of April is designated as the Month of the Military Child to recognize the contributions and sacrifices military children make so their family members can serve. An estimated 15,000 children in Minnesota have been affected by the deployment of a parent.

"Military children bear a lot while their family members serve," said Maj. Gen. Jon Jensen, Adjutant General of the Minnesota National Guard. "It is up to us to support these resilient kids and help to lessen their burden."

An event to honor military kids in Minnesota will take place April 13, 2018, at the Mall of America rotunda from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Activities will include appearances by the Teddy Bear Band and meet and greets with Nickelodeon characters.



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."



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