|Service members and their Families
|"We connect service members, families, employers and communities to ensure the resilience of those who serve through Beyond the Yellow Ribbon."
Since the first Yellow Ribbon Network was proclaimed in 2008, 95 networks encompassing more than 270 Minnesota communities have emerged. These self-sustaining networks strive to support the service members, veterans and military families – of any age and from any era – that reside in their area. In 2014 the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program saw the cities of Cloquet, Cosmos, Crystal, Elko New Market, Flensburg, Genola, Golden Valley, New Hope, Pipestone, Redwood Falls and Robbinsdale join the effort. Additionally, the counties of Carlton, McLeod and Pipestone earned the governor’s official Yellow Ribbon Proclamation.
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program also recognizes Minnesota companies that make a commitment to supporting the service members, veterans and military families that they employ. In 2014 the Mall of America, Northwestern Mutual – The Bohannen Group, Cargill, Minnesota Twins, SuperAmerica/Northern Tier and McGough Construction were proclaimed, bringing the total number of Yellow Ribbon Companies to 40.
After nearly six years of community outreach, the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program accomplished its goal of having Yellow Ribbon Networks in each of the Minnesota National Guard’s 61 communities.
The success of Minnesota’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program has garnered national attention. The program has been presented as a premier, community-capacity building model to other states looking to emulate the program.
In 2014 the Minnesota National Guard implemented new skills training. Taught by certified master resilience trainers, the unit-focused training is designed to bolster service members’ mental toughness and enhance their duty performance and overall well-being. Additionally, partnerships with state agencies and organizations have resulted in increased holistic support for service members when they are not in military duty status.
In 2014 the Minnesota National Guard recorded the lowest number of suicide and suicide ideation since internal tracking began in 2007. The Guard’s relationship with the Minnesota Suicide Prevention Planning Task Force confirmed that suicide trends in the organization have been consistent with those across Minnesota.
The Minnesota National Guard’s eight Family Assistance Centers served more than 62,500 military family members and coordinated 144 grants, totaling $315,000, from independent charitable foundations to support military members in need.