Representatives from the United States Armed Forces, local politicians, and the mayors of both St. Michael and Albertville will join with members of the St. Michael-Albertville Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee in a kick-off event tonight at Albertville City Hall, as the two communities look to be recognized with the designation.
Brad Cedergren, a veteran and owner of Forte Music Academy, is spearheading the drive for Albertville, while Nicole Johnson Rice, an STMA grad and current assistant at FYCC, is leading St. Michael’s efforts. Tonight’s event is the formal start of the campaign, with presentations starting at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.
Both Monticello and Buffalo have recently been successful in their campaigns to become Yellow Ribbon Communities, which recognizes cities as supportive of military families who reside there.
According to the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Website, the program aims to support service men and women and their families in times of deployment and beyond.
“Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a comprehensive program that creates awareness for the purpose of connecting Servicemembers and their families with community support, training, services and resources,” the site states.
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.
“Being deployed is much harder on the family that’s left behind, compared to the person who is actually sent to a base in Qatar or somewhere in the Middle East,” Cedergren said. “Somehow, they have to keep things going. A lot of times the families are too proud to ask for help with that. With this program, help’s just right there. They don’t even have to ask.”
Rice, who has helped coordinate efforts like this during her time as a military wife, has seen projects range from painting and home maintenance to raking yards and plowing snow. Or, it could be as simple as arranging a ride for a child to and from basketball practice.
BTYR is also there to help those returning from tours of duty when they come home.
“There’s an adaptation,” Rice said. “You’ve been gone for months. How do you get back into your life?”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community Kick-Off Meeting
WHERE: Albertville City Hall – Main Street
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18 (tonight)
WHO: The effort needs support from all key areas of the community, to include:
• Elected officials
• Faith-based organizations
• Veterans and civic organizations
• Public safety/judicial
• Medical and social services organizations
• Volunteers from the community
INFO: For questions, or to let BTYR know you’re attending contact Nicole Rice 612-695-1005 or Brad Cedergren at 763-516-0553.