Flansburg recognized for role in documentary
by Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
It’s not every day that a Little Falls resident gets to contribute to a documentary, but CSM Kevin Flansburg enjoyed the unique experience while deployed to Afghanistan with the Minnesota National Guard in 2011-2012.
To top that off, the documentary, “Battlefield to the Home Front,” won a regional Emmy® award. Flansburg and his wife, Penny, were honored to be able to attend the gala awards ceremony in October.
Twin Cities Public Television (TPT) has followed the deployments of Minnesota Guard units to Iraq and Afghanistan, producing five documentaries. Two others have also won awards.
“Battlefield to the Home Front” shows the effects of a decade of deployments on military units and the people back home.
“This is the culmination of about six years of submissions from TPT in cooperation with the National Guard,” said Flansburg. “It lets the people of this country know what soldiers do when they’re deployed.”
A TPT reporter, Luke Heikkila, was deployed with Flansburg’s unit, embedded in the unit’s staff.
“There were a total of 58 people on our team — 24 from Minnesota and a security team of 34 from Mississippi,” he said. “The security team’s job was to make sure the sites we visited were secure. We all had the same training, but it was their main focus. We had no problems at all.”
Flansburg was part of an agricultural detail in Zabul province (southwest of Kabul and roughly 90 miles northeast of Kandahar).
Flansburg’s Agribusiness Development Team’s mission was to support all phases of improving agriculture, one of the largest parts of the Afghan economy.
“We worked as an equivalent to a county extension agency,” he said. “We held clinics for livestock immunization and improvements in planting and harvesting practices.”
As the senior enlisted person on the detail, Flansburg had the role of senior enlisted adviser for the documentary.
“We were chosen for the detail based on what we do in the civilian world, our agricultural backgrounds,” Flansburg said. “The mission highlighted the value of the Guard being able to rely on the civilian skills and knowledge of its soldiers.”
Flansburg was notified by email that the documentary had won.
“I thought, ‘Is it for real?’” he said. “This was the first agricultural development team ever to be deployed from Minnesota.”
The documentary received the Governors Emmy® Award, which honors visionary, long-standing relationships that showcase the power of broadcasting to advance a mission or message.
The Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences was established in 2000, and currently includes Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Northwestern Wisconsin and a portion of Iowa.
Since 2000, there have been 893 entries, 408 nominations and 119 award winners.
The ceremony took place at the State Theater in Minneapolis.
“It was an incredible evening,” Flansburg said. “Whenever in my life would I have an opportunity to participate in something like this? How many people get this opportunity?”
The statuette that Flansburg was able to purchase is something he especially treasures.
“It’s a legacy to pass on to my grandchildren,” he said. “It will go on down the line, becoming a family heirloom.”
The documentary can be viewed at www.tpt.org/?a=programs&id=22437.