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Rosemount businesses reach out

Like many people Don Sinnwell wants to help soldiers and their families. But as a former soldier, he also wants to make sure he's helping in a practical way.

So the Rosemount businessman developed a program to help the families of soldiers deployed overseas get a fair shake. The Yellow Ribbon Business Program asks businesses to commit to fair treatment for customers with deployed family members. By doing so they will receive a window cling that promotes them as a Yellow Ribbon Business.

"They don't want discounts or handouts. The families just want to know when they walk into a business that they aren't going to be taken advantage of," said Sinnwell.

Sinnwell came up with the idea after talking with representatives from the 34th Infantry Division Family Readiness group. The 34th has been deployed to Iraq since last February. He said one of the biggest concerns amongst families is getting taken advantage of, especially when it comes to service related businesses such as auto shops or home repair.

"If you've never had to deal with this stuff before it can be intimidating," said Sinnwell.

While the program is simple Sinnwell said it is important that soldiers feel their families are being taken care of while they are deployed because then they can feel free to think about their job at hand.

The clings will cost $3. Sinnwell said any money raised will be donated to the family readiness group to help military families.

Sinnwell said so far everyone he has talked to has been supportive of the program. Sinnwell said he hopes to get as many businesses as he can to sign on. To help with that effort he has recruited the help of the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

The DCR has committed to helping the program get up and running. Chamber president Ruthe Batulis said she thinks the program is a good way to support the troops and their families.

"We will be highlighting it to our members to try and get business on board," said Batulis.

In addition to area businesses, Batulis said she hopes promote the program statewide by getting the information out to other Minnesota chambers.

"I think it's good to show that businesses and business owners care about our troops and their families," said Batulis.

Sinnwell has clings available. To sign up for the program or for more information call 651-423-1223.