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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Beyond The Yellow Ribbon - Community of Hastings Annual Report

The following report was presented to the Hastings City Council on December 19th.

 

The purpose of the community's Yellow Ribbon Initiative is to create awareness for the purpose of connecting service members, veterans, and their families with community support, services, while honoring their sacrifices.

 

The initiative started with a community kick off meeting in November 2008, and gain energy in April 2009 with a development of a vision of what needed to be done and was subsequently approved in September 2009.
 
Community outreach can be found in
  • Middle and High School Military Support Group
  • St Elizabeth Ann Seaton Catholic Church Military Support Group
  • Chicken and Rib Dinner for pre deployment of the 1 –34th Inf Bde. Over 150 invites sent.
  • Contact with Family Assistance Centers, Family Readiness Support Consultants, local unit and their Family Readiness Group
Recognition along with community outreach can also be found in many of the following ongoing community events and patriotic observances:
  • Veterans Remembrance Ceremonies, with cooperation of the Minnesota National Guard Honor Guard. 34 conducted this year by the VFW.
  • Monetary support of local non-profit military support groups in the community: Minnesota Veterans Family Support, Defending the Blue Line, Quilts for Valor, and Military Families United (Gold Sold Mothers).
  • April Military Child. Social outing with the middle and high school support group.
  • Community Veterans Picnic hosted by the High School Support Group
  •  Memorial Day. Over 1000 flags and Bronze Star Markers placed on graves, along with 4 ceremonies. United Methodist Church constructed a display honoring all current era Minnesota deceased members.
  •  Downtown Historical Auto Show, almost May to October. Tribute to Gold Star Mothers conducted on Military Night.
  • Military Spouse/Mother's Day. Partnership with the Farmington Warrior to Citizen/Yellow Ribbon Network Group in a Mothers/Grandmothers Luncheon.
  • Military Family Picnic, Dakota County Fairgrounds
  • Rivertown Days
  • Three VFW scholarship recipients with veteran ancestry.
  •  Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve Statements sign by many businesses and organizations.
  • Tee It Up for the Troops sponsored by four area golf courses
  •  Rededication of the Hastings Armory along with unit/family readiness picnic
  • Veterans Day. Four ceremonies, along with visitation at area nursing homes.
  •  Local National Guard Christmas Party
  •  Care Package Shipment and Greetings by the High School and SEAS Military Support Group
Since inception there has only been three (3) requests for assistance through the Military Family Care Initiative, only one is active for snow removal.  The initiative is registered thorough the United Way of Hastings e-volunteer network.
 
Our focus this upcoming year will be to the
  • Continuance of present annual activities
  • Continued renewal of the relationship with the local National Guard unit and Family Readiness Group, to include a change of command ceremony, summer picnic and Christmas party
  • The development of several new initiatives
  • Relocation of the County Veteran Service Office to City Hall.
  •  A Military Family Salute at the Hastings Ice Arena on Mar 3rd.
  • Post Deployment Recognition of 1-34th Inf Bde and other community members with presentation of at least a $40 gift certificate for a night out on the community. Approximately 12 Service members will be returning. (NOTE: If you know of a family deployed, please have them advise me)
  • Collaborating with the Dakota County initiative in becoming proclaimed a Yellow Ribbon County
  • Collaborating with the South St Paul Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network in honoring all female veterans, present and past, on Mar 31, at VFW 295.
 Financial Budget
  • An estimated amount of annual expenditures is approximately $1000 - 1500..
  • Many businesses and organizations have been very generous in their donations.
  • Donations can be sent to United Way of Hastings, PO Box 353, Hastings, MN 55033, earmark "Military Support".
 Conclusion
  • Our vision is to maintain a steadfast service, support and recognition of our service members, veterans, and their families.
  • We meet every other month, on the second Thursday at the American Legion. New members and volunteers are always welcome.
At the conclusion of the report, Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve Representative Jim Sullivan presented me with a Seven Seals Award. My thanks goes to all the community for the support that has been given in this initiative.
 
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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