October 10, 2015, Northfield American Legion members, Rick Hillard (Commander) and Virginia Kaczmarek (Adjutant), represented our district (District 3) by spending the day learning about local, state and national support for veterans. The training was held in New Ulm.
The news spread quickly on Friday when Annette Kuyper sent the email saying Northfield’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon was approved by the state organization to become a Yellow Ribbon Community. For a copy of the full article by the Northfield News, click here.
The email from the director of Military Outreach for the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs was short and sweet.
“It is a pleasure to announce that your action plan has been unanimously approved by the state of Minnesota Yellow Ribbon Action Plan Review Board,” Kuyper said. “The Board was very impressed with the synchronization of effort in your community to support service members, veterans and military families.”
Those on the steering committee and others who have been working tirelessly for months (years for some) to make this a reality were certain the efforts would pay off, but nonetheless, they were happy when the announcement came Friday morning.
“I can’t tell you how good it is to finally know this is a reality,” said Tom Franklin, chaplain for the American Legion and one of the original steering committee members when the effort was first launched a couple of years ago. “While it has been a long time coming it is well worth it.”
For Northfield service members, veterans and military families, confirmation means there will soon be a comprehensive network in place that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, resources and employers for the purpose of creating access to resources for those in need of them.
Co-steering committee chair Virginia Kaczmarek said that to be recognized and proclaimed a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community took a lot of work from city officials, staff from the Northfield Police Department, Northfield Hospital, Allina Health, service clubs, the VFW and American Legion, Northfield’s faith-based community, the Chamber of Commerce, the business community and the Northfield School District.
“This was a joint effort and truly a network of Northfield community people from all sectors joining together and putting together a plan that will support our military staff, veterans and military families no matter what their needs might be,” she said on Friday.
Kaczmarek said the organization has taken a three-pronged approach in getting this far. The first, she said, is all the people, from all sectors of the community, working together to put an action plan in place that will support service members, veterans and military families.
The second step, she said, is to celebrate this accomplishment.
“It took a lot of work and no matter what everyone was asked to do in preparation to achieve this, they did not hesitate and stepped up to the plate to provide an action plan that has impressed the state of Minnesota,” she said.
And the third step, and maybe most rewarding, she said, will be to actually have an impact on military service members, their families and veterans.
“No matter what they ask or need support in, we can be there as a community with resources and support from around the state to provide support whenever needed,” Kaczmarek concluded.
To celebrate this historic accomplishment, Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon will host members from the state BTYR organization, state dignitaries and community members in a proclamation ceremony set for Nov. 11 (Veterans Day) in the Northfield Middle School auditorium.
Northfield will become the 272nd Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community in the state and the last community with a National Guard armory.
Reach Managing Editor Jerry Smith at 645-1136, or follow him on Twitter.com @NewsNorthfield
Mary Dack, from Bell Mortgage is using the Pay it Forward program from Bell State Bank and Trust to donate $1000 to Northfield’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network. The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network is a partnership with the Minnesota National Guard and the state of Minnesota and is a group of Northfield citizens who want to help make things a little easier for our local deployed and returning service members, veterans and their families.”
Mary has been a Loan Officer and resident in the Northfield community for over 20 years and is excited to participate in this wonderful program for Veterans and their families.
For more information, visit the Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Facebook page.
Attached picture left to right: Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee Members: Tom Franklin, SFC Kristopher Nelson, Virginia Kaczmarek, Jerry Smith, Mary Dack, Rep David Bly and Todd Bornhauser.
The Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network, in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard and the State of Minnesota, wants to help make things a little easier for deployed and returning service members, veterans and their families.
As a community, our first challenge is to achieve official status from the State of Minnesota to be a Yellow Ribbon Community. Committees of Northfield people are forming and working together in key areas such as Faith based, public safety and judicial, city leadership, veteran organizations, civic organizations, businesses, social services and medical providers and education and people in support of youth. If you would like to join the conversation to help us achieve this status – email us at NYellowRibbon@gmail.com
The Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon mission is to recognize the sacrifices being made by our military members, veterans and their families at home and to provide a support network for families while their loved ones are deployed
A large group of Northfield citizens and leaders and organizations are working very hard to have our community become an official Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community by this November. Special thank you to our volunteers for creating awareness about the Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network at the last Community Band event.
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a support network of people and organizations from all over our community to include the Northfield Hospital, Allina Health, local Faith organizations, the YMCA, the American Legion and the VFW, Police and Fire Department, just to name a few.
The Northfield Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network, in partnership with the Minnesota National Guard and the State of Minnesota, wants to help make things a little easier for deployed and returning service members, veterans and their families.
To join the network, contact us via email: NYellowRibbon@gmail.com