Beyond the Yellow Ribbon

It’s imperative that we support our soldiers and their families. I commend them for their service and the sacrifices they make to defend our country.
In addition to the great assistance provided by veterans service organizations, I am thankful for the efforts of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. I suggest visiting the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon website (http://www.btyr.org/) to check out everything they do. Many area citizens are actively involved in the program and I encourage you to join them.
The group works to help soldiers reintegrate into their communities once they finish their work overseas. The program received its name as a reminder that “the support of Soldiers cannot end when they return from deployment and the yellow ribbons are untied.”
Our soldiers are asked to uproot their lives and work and fight in countries far away from their families and communities. Once they finish their deployment, returning home is often filled with challenges. Beyond the Yellow Ribbon has built a comprehensive program that creates awareness for the purpose of connecting service members and their families with community support, training, services and resources.
This is done by:
1. Creating awareness through the Yellow Ribbon Community Campaign and synchronizing sustainable community support networks.
2. Connecting and coordinating organizations, agencies and companies to provide resources and support to service members and their families.
3. Delivering a series of formal Yellow Ribbon Training events to service members and their families before, during and after deployment.
4. Providing an opportunity for Minnesotans to support service members and their families.
So how can we help? The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon website has three suggestions. First, you could join a network. This means helping by joining a Yellow Ribbon network in our area or sending care packages to a deployed unit. Visit http://btyr.org/family-assistance-centers to find information on local Family Assistance Centers that will help connect you.
Second, you can donate and connect to one of the numerous non-profit organizations in Minnesota that are already set up to give support and show thanks to service members. Visit http://btyr.org/organizations-that-help to find an organization in our area.
Third, you can assist a family. This can mean shoveling snow, doing some yard work, helping with household repairs, or cooking dinner for a military family. Use the following link to get involved: https://www.militaryfamilies.state.mn.us/.
As a parent whose daughter served in Iraq, I know how much support from your community can help while a loved one is away. I am grateful for the work going into this program. We owe a great deal of gratitude to our service members and their families. We need to rally around them in any way we can.
As always, please contact me with questions or suggestions as needed. Please visit my Senate website at senate.mn/senatorwiger. I also encourage you to visit me at the Capitol, or let me know if you’d like me to stop by your house or apartment. Also, please tune in to my local cable TV show, “Your Capitol: What’s Up?,” which appears on public access channels 15 and 16.
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Senator Chuck Wiger
Chuck Wiger represents District 43, which includes portions of Ramsey and Washington counties in the northeastern Twin Cities metropolitan area.

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