We would be remiss not to note that last month Morrison County as well as 13 cities within the county were officially designated as Yellow Ribbon Networks.
The Yellow Ribbon Network is aimed at providing support and recognition to veterans and their families. In Morrison County, home to Camp Ripley, that applies to most of us. It’s said that 26,000 military veterans live here.
When soldiers are deployed as they have been periodically for the past 11 years, it puts a tremendous burden on the families they leave behind. Even though they go forward willingly, risking life and limb to protect the rest of us, the sacrifices are not uniform across society. Achieving Yellow Ribbon status, however, at least acknowledges that those sacrifices are being made.
By setting up a support network for deployed veterans to help their families with lawn care, snow shoveling, child care, an occasional meal, ride or sending care packages can make a huge difference in the lives of those people bearing the greatest burdens. It’s the least that we can do.
The group is also helping those veterans who have returned home, making a point of reaching out if the veteran needs them.
Besides the county, the 13 cities in the county recognized include Little Falls, Motley, Royalton, Swanville, Sobieski, Harding, Buckman, Upsala, Randall, Pierz, Bowlus, Elmdale and Lastrup. That says that most of us want to make sure these special neighbors of ours have the support they need. In many cases, these are our personal friends.
While they had many helpers, the members of the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee also deserve recognition. Current members include Kevin Brown, Rich Collins, Paul Froncak, Tom Girtz, Duane Johnson, Tami Klucas, Dan Noss, Sandy Noss, Mike Olson, Frank Rebnord, Denise Schweisthal, Renee Tabatt, Tim Tabatt, Kristina VonBerge and Greg Zylka. First Lt. Blake St. Sauver, who was transferred from Camp Ripley before the certification was completed, deserves special recognition for getting the group organized initially.
Human beings are social animals. The reason we choose to live in the communities we do is because it is where we find the friends and support we need to survive. Achieving Yellow Ribbon status is a great way of building those community bonds in Morrison County.