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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Hastings Yellow Ribbon Connections

Hastings Beyond The Yellow Ribbon coordinates existing programs to serve our veterans and their families. Our goal is to make it easier in directing our veterans and their families to resources already available in the community for their support. Community residents, businesses, schools, political leaders, civic, and faith-based organizations have positively influenced the lives of many.

Smead President and Chief Executive Officer Sharon Hoffman Avent has a philosophy on "How to Succeed as a Woman Business:" Relationships are the cornerstones for success, Always conduct your business with the highest integrity, Surround yourself with the best team. Engage your employees in all aspects of your business, Innovation is key to longevity – don't be afraid to try something new. Change is inevitable – embrace it, Never underestimate the power of common sense, Love what you do and let it show!, Network within your industry and with other women business owners, Give back to your community, your employees, and your industry and  Remember – you always stand taller with high heels!

Living and Learning Series for Women Veterans

Join in for a free four-part series focusing on topics important to women who have served in the military. Apr 9, 5 p.m.: The Invisible War-An investigative and powerful emotional examination of the epidemic of sexual assault in the military; Jul 9, 5 p.m. Inner Healing – Learn to let go of life's hurts, and Oct 8th, 5 p.m., Women'[s Resource Fair.  Location: 207 S 99th St. Minneapolis, Light refreshments will be served!! Access complementary parking through the alley between 9th and 10th. Either 2nd or 3rd Ave. Sponsoring partners: VA Regional Office, St Paul; Minnesota Assistance Council for Women; The League of Catholic Women; Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs.

Events and Opportunities

Military/Veteran Open Skate Night. 2 March, 5:45 pm – 7:00 pm, Hastings Civic Arena, 2801 Red Wing Blvd. Open to the public with a monetary or non-perishable food item donation to Hastings Family Services during Minnesota FoodShare Month,  Sponsored by the City of Hastings, Parks and Recreation, Civic Arena with collaboration of the Minnesota National Guard and Defending The Blue Line.

Community Resource Fair Saturday, March 9th, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Hasting High School Commons Area. 200 General Sieben Drive.

Veteran's Day on the Hill, 12 March, 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol Rotunda. Governor Mark Dayton has been invited along with key legislators. Veterans are invited to attend and also to make Appointments afterwards to visit with the legislators from their districts. Appointments should be made directly with the office of the appropriate senator or representative.

Community Resource Fair Saturday, March 9th, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Hasting High School Commons Area. 200 General Sieben Drive. Veterans Services and Health Representative.

Free Veterans Legal Clinic., is conducted the second (2nd) Tuesday of every odd month,

(March 12th) from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Flag Atrium Balcony (2S114) 1 Veterans Drive, Minneapolis. Legal areas include: Child support & Family Law, Debt collection, Employment, Benefits, Expungement, Tax Law, Housing, Wills and Health Care Directives and Driver License Issues and other related areas of law. For more information, contact Sara Sommarstrom,, (651) 224-0292

Yellow Ribbon Conversations. 14 March, 7 p.m., Hastings American Legion Post 47, 30 Sibley St. Topics will include "Take Care of My Family", "Bring Them All The Way Home" means, and the Community Armed Forces Salute will be discussed. Open to anyone, especially our military, veterans and families.

Rivertown Lions are having their annual Bunny Breakfast again this year – March 23, 8 – 12:30 Christa McAuliffe Elementary School, 1601 West 12th Street, Hastings. Visits with Easter Bunny, Lots of drawings! Any military member and family can eat free.  Our small way of saying thank you. Any questions, call Jane Lightbourn,, (651) 319-4503.

Free Military Marriage Retreat at the Miracle Lodge, 26-28 April 2013. Friday evening 7 p.m. to noon on Sunday. Looking to have some fun with optional classes and possible contacts with other couples, who are married or engaged. Fun activities include zip line, horseback riding, hiking, on trails, and camp fires. Contact: Terry Branham, Hosanna Lutheran Church and Miracle Lodge event coordinator,

Armed Forces Military Salute. A six week celebration starting on Sunday, April 28th, Military/Veteran Community Family Picnic hosted by the Hastings High School Military Support Group to Saturday, June 15th Hastings Downtown Historical Auto Show (Flag Day observation). This period will be educational, increase awareness, expand public understanding, role of the military, military "state of the art" equipment, and a period to honor and acknowledge the people of the Armed Forces. Individual and family member assistance is welcomed in the following areas:  project development, marketing communications, and collecting accounts of military service for display,

Miracles Happen Festival - July 27-28, 2013. The festival is coming together with all the music, speakers, programs and events. This festival will be SOUTHERN MINNESOTA'S LARGEST YOUTH, FAMILY AND MILITARY FESTIVAL. Our goal is to have 1000 youth plus families and military families. COST is $10 for all ages and includes all events for the weekend excluding zipline and food vendors. We still need volunteers to help: food, security, parking, check-in, setup and takedown, youth events, etc. Contact me either by email or call the office 507 533 4315

Farmington Yellow Ribbon Network is seeking volunteers, contacts, donations. Basic house cleaning volunteers are needed on Wednesday, March 13th, in Burnsville. . Attendance at Veteran's Dinner's, 6 p.m.,  March 4 (Bible Baptist Church); April 1 (Church of the Advent and May 6 (Trinity Care Center)  Volunteers, donations and contacts for the Mothers and Grandmothers Luncheon, Saturday, May  11th, 11 – 2 pm. For additional information contact Annette Kuyper. supercop4716@charter.(612) 460-2248.

Auto Body Collision Repair. The Dakota County Technical College,,

 is in need of vehicles to work on beginning February 4th. They are looking for vehicle owned by Veterans, current military or family members who own a vehicle needing collision repair. Vehicle owners are responsible to pay for paint, parts, and materials only. LABOR is FREE. No rust please!! Due to program constraints we would like to keep the vehicle for an agreed upon timeline, so we are looking for vehicles that are not driven daily and can be kept at the college while being repaired.  Click on the following link to fill out the registration form:   Any questions contact Nicole Meulemans, (651) 423-8403.

 Support Resources

Veterans Service Organizations (VSO).  Giving is the best source of positive publicity. By serving our military, veterans, families and community they accomplish many goals:  Live up to their constitution; Provide valuable services; Benefit from a favorable impression; Attract the audience; Build pride and Good health which makes us happier and live longer. The decline in membership is significant. We must be connected with one another. We learn that self-interest is actually connected to others. This gives us a conception of the public good, common identity and a sense of common responsibility as a nation and as citizens. Any decline is potentially detrimental to democracy. Causes can be varied: Passive participation; Less interaction; Workplace responsibilities; Educational pursuits, Family Commitments; Time to get away; and Generational differences. VSO's have many programs and projects, therefore you can get into anything you want (because) once it is realized what the VSO is doing for the community and humanity as a whole there is so much personal satisfaction. The VSO's are looking for people to get involved.

MOMS Club of Hastings is a non-profit support group designed for mothers. MOMS stands for Moms Offering Moms Support and is designed to support all moms (military or non-military) who work part-time or are home full-time with their kids, and want to interact with other moms and kids in the area. As one member, Heidi Sellars stated, "The MOMS Club has become an invaluable resource for me over the years. I got involved during my husband's first deployment and it was great to meet moms at home with their kids and get out of the house and socialize with them, especially since we don't live a military base." If you wish to know more about the Hastings MOMS club, check out our website momsclubhastings.weebly.comor email us at

Dakota County Communities for a Lifetime (CFL) Initiative. Minnesota's population is aging. In 2020, there will be more people over the age of 65 than children in school. By 2030, the Minnesota Department of Human Services expects that 1 in 4 people in Minnesota will be over the age of 65. This phenomenon is commonly characterized as "The Age Wave" as the population not only ages but people are also living longer. Communities throughout Minnesota and the nation are preparing for the aging of the baby boom generation through intentional planning initiatives often referred to as "communities for a lifetime." Dakota County Public Health is paying attention to the boomer age through intentional planning initiatives. Caring for an older adult can be difficult and challenging. A group of Hastings area agencies and organizations are working together to offer resources and support. Since last spring, there has been several educational offerings and a weekly column in the Hastings Star Gazette. Hastings Area Senior and DARTS Resource Directories are available at the Hastings Community Education Center Contact Jess Luce to learn more about Dakota County's Communities for a Lifetime Initiative, and (651) 554-6104.

Caregivers of Veterans-Do You Need a Break? The Volunteer Caregiver Support Program reflects the Department of Veterans Affairs on-going commitment to care for America's veterans In this case, directly into the veterans' home If you are currently living with a veteran who is housebound and you discover that is difficult to find a few hours for yourself then, perhaps the Volunteer Caregiver Support Program may be for you. If you qualify, VA will send a trained and compassionate volunteer to your home one or twice a week. This way you may take that well-deserved break to go shopping, run errands, or even just rest in another room. The volunteer does not provide physical care or transportation but watches over your loved one. Volunteers may engage in various activities in the home based on personal interests and needs of the veteran. Examples of these activities include reading, playing games, watching a movie, reminiscing, etc. In essence, caregiver support basically offers you the veteran's caregiver, the opportunity to recharge you battery and rejuvenate so that family time together is more fulfilling. For learn more, please contact Jennet Kratt, (612) 725-2050.


Azule Staffing,, a Service Connected Disabled Veteran Small Business (SCVOB) is the premier provider of staffing solutions in all industries on a Direct Hire, Temp to Hire, and Temporary basis. Azule Staffing offers candidates and companies experienced, professional recruiting and placement services. They specialize in finding outstanding candidates at premier companies and organizations.  You can find them at the above link or give them a ring at (952) 956-4550.

Suicide,, Everyday about 22 veterans take their own lives, a rate that is about 20 percent higher that the Department of Veterans Affairs 2007 estimate. If you or someone you know is in crisis, connect now with qualified caring resources through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or test. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8755 and Press 1, chat online or sent a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. Support for the deaf and hard of hearing is available.

 Psychological Stress, Each of us has a responsibility to look out for our servicemembers, especially in relation to the stress injuries that can be brought on by the unrelenting high-tempo operations. Why is this so important? Primarily because the person suffering from stress often is the last one to recognize it. We need to be able to identify those who are having problems because personal readiness, of course, affects mission readiness. Stress that is not effectively handled will accumulate and result in behavior changes that can undermine an individual's capabilities, good judgment and cohesiveness with the unit.

The Navy's Stress Continuum is an excellent tool for us to use on a daily basis, its color-coded zones help us to detect and defuse stress injuries.

ALS. Every day, fifteen Americans – more than 5,600 per year – receive the grim news from their doctors that they have Lou Gehrig's disease. Officially known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), the doctor's diagnosis is accompanied by a devastating explanation. ALS is an incurable and fatal disorder of the motor neurons, the highly specialized cells in the brain and spinal cord responsible for all voluntary muscle movement. Patients can expect to live two to five years after the doctor's diagnosis. Studies show United States veterans develop ALS twice as often as Americans with no military service. The statistical evidence is so solid that in 2008 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) designated ALS a "presumptively compensable illness." If you're a veteran and your doctor says you have ALS, the VA presumes your military service caused it. 

Military Sexual Trauma. numbers speak volumes. In 2011, there were 3,192 reports of sexual assault filed by military members, though the Defense Department estimates the number of actual incidents to be closer to 19,000. The shame, embarrassment and fear hinder many victims from ever reporting military sexual trauma (MST). It does not help that, according to the Service Women's Action Network (SWAN), two out of every three disability claims of MST-related post-traumatic stress disorder are denied for veterans. As official documentation of assaults rarely exists for unreported incidents, many claimants are told they simply have too little evidence for their claims to be approved. A number of MST victims have described this is a cycle of "re-traumatization." First they are sexually assaulted and face the stigma, humiliation and potential retaliation for reporting the incident, and then they face an uphill battle to get the appropriate care and benefits for their injuries through the disability claims process. DAV, alongside several other veterans' service organizations, has lent support to the legislation in hopes of establishing unbiased and standard reform. "Establishing service-connection for a condition related to MST is critical for a number of reasons," said Washington Headquarters Executive Director Barry Jesinoski. "That service connection gives affected veterans better access to the VA health care they need. And for many MST survivors, that service-connection for mental and physical injuries caused by MST represents personal validation as well as recognition of and gratitude for their honorable service."

Tracking Your Finances. Managing your finances well will help you reach your financial goals. To begin planning how to do that you must have an accurate and honest understanding of three things: your income, your expenses, and your commitment to savings. In thinking about planning, you might find that income, expenses and savings often work together your finances are a necessity for financial security. A carefully worked out budget put you in charge and guides your financial decisions. Armed with full knowledge of all your options as to where your money goes, of when to spend and when not to spend, and of how to save, you'll make decisions in your own best interest. Make tracking your finances part of your life, and life will have its rewards.

Transition from Service to College. For veterans, making the transition from military to college life can be difficult with stressors from anxiety descending to simply of fitting in. Ten issues that men and women who have gone from the service to college are: Post-Military Identity; Making Everyday Decisions; Stress/Anxiety Disorders; Getting Involved; Feeling Safe; Paying Tuition; Getting Academic Credit for Military Experience; Relating to Younger Students; Boredom; and Physical Disability. What issues do you have?

Paths to Healing, for Victims,, Thursday, February 28th, 6:30 – 8 pm, 1603 Pine St (Prescott Fire & Ambulance Association). Do you know someone impacted by an impaired driving crash? Consider inviting and bringing someone impacted by impaired driving or crime. Join us for a meeting about the stages of healing and how storytelling can help. Kim Anez and Kris Miner will be speaking. Kris will be sharing the responses to trauma, stages some take to move from victim, survivor, and thrive. Kim will offer personal experiences and insight about healing and storytelling. She has spoken at the Victim Impact Panels across Wisconsin and Minnesota. A panel of questions will wrap up the meeting. Kim and Kris will be available to answer questions and offer their insight. For additional details and register, please call (713) 425-1100 or email Liana at

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