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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guardsmen among 25 honored with Veterans' Voices Awards

Veterans' Voices Awardees ST PAUL, Minn - Being a citizen-soldier encompasses significant sacrifices for the service rendered to state and country Deployments and schools require weeks away from family, friends and life in addition to the challenges of reintegrating back into work or school and life after all this time away

After all of that, would anyone have time for anything else? Some Service members juggle all of this and much more by giving back in big ways to their communities

For the third year, the Minnesota Humanities Center Board of Directors recognized Minnesota veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice These men and women, who were nominated by members of the community, were chosen based on significant contributions to their unit, fellow Service members and their communities

The University of St Thomas hosted this year's Veterans' Voices Award Ceremony, September 11, 2015, honoring more than 20 veterans of all services These military members came from around the state and have made a huge impact on the lives of their fellow Service members and the community Many of these awardees are past and present members of the Minnesota National Guard

"Our commonality is that we come from a unique culture that transforms us," said Trista Matascastillo, Minnesota Humanities Center Veterans' Voices Program Officer "We speak a different language; we form new traditions; we become part of something much bigger than ourselves This holds true no matter what branch of service, what war or even if you are an American or not We are Veterans and we are part of our communities"

The achievements these inspiring Soldiers and Airmen made in their communities range from awardees of a Medal of Valor to countless volunteer hours outside of their military service and full-time work These Minnesota National Guard men and women who have and are serving inspired all in attendance, not only with their willingness to service, but with their tireless efforts in improving the world around them

"This award is to help you remember that people are noticing and recognizing what you do," said David Wentzel, a veteran of the Minnesota National Guard and 2014 Veteran Voices Awardee "This is not a period in your story, just a comma - always keep pushing forward"

In attendance was Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, US Senator Amy Klobuchar and Commissioner of Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Retired Maj. Gen. Larry Shellito Donations from Wounded Warrior Project, US Bank and more than a dozen other program sponsors made the night possible and free of charge to all in attendance

"Receiving this award on 9/11 is bittersweet, as we reflect on the impact this day has had on our country and the veteran community," said Sgt Dajon Ferrell, one of the award recipients "I'm accepting the award on behalf of my fellow warriors and their dedication to service Our voices help bridge the gap between civilians and veterans, while always remembering the sacrifices made, especially those who gave the ultimate sacrifice"

To donate or to learn more about the Veterans Voices Program through the Minnesota Humanities Center in St Paul, Minn, visit: wwwminnesotahumanitiesorg/vets

September 11, 2015
by Tech Sgt Lynette Olivares
133rd Airlift Wing 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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