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Minnesota National Guard
Red Bulls Meet Books for Africa Team

Minnesota National Guard ST PAUL, Minn- Soldiers with the Minnesota National Guard's 34th Red Bull Infantry Division were on hand to witness the shipment of more than 22,000 books to the Ebola-stricken nation of Liberia The shipment comes as approximately 300 Red Bulls prepare to deploy this spring to Liberia to lead US military efforts to combat the West African Ebola outbreak

"This event gives us a chance to meet some of the other great Minnesotans that will be on the ground with us in West Africa for Operation United Assistance," said Army Maj. Gen. Neal Loidolt, commanding general of the Red Bulls "Building these relationships early will be important part of this unique mission"

The 34th ID will provide command and control of US military forces supporting the United States Agency for International Development's response to the outbreak in the region, and the Wing will provide tactical airlift support

"To send books to Liberia at this point in time, particularly after the Ebola crisis, I think is timely and will change lives," said Ahmed Sirleaf, the collaborating, learning and adapting advisor at the US Embassy in Monrovia, Liberia, who was on hand to accept the donation on behalf of the embassy's local Employee Staff Association Sirleaf, who grew up in Liberia, worked and attended school in Minnesota

According to Sirleaf, the shipment comes at a good time for the children of Liberia With schools closed to stem the spread of the disease, many of the nation's children are without reading materials

Books for Africa, the Minnesota organization behind the shipment, has sent more than 31 million books since 1988

According to a recent World Health Organization report, of the more than 20,000 reported Ebola cases, nearly 8,000 people have lost their lives in the region since the outbreak began

December 23, 2014
by Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs



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