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Beyond the Yellow Ribbon helping in tangible ways

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A year ago when the Rosemount received its Beyond the Yellow Ribbon City designation, Renee Hestrom said it meant the group would have to start walking the walk by helping military families in a tangible way.

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"I think we are where we thought we would be," said Hedstrom late last week.

In the year since the group received its official designation, the Rosemount Beyond the Yellow Ribbon group has coordinated a number of efforts to help military families in big and small ways. The mission of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program is to support the needs of service members and their families while members are deployed and then again as they reintegrate into civilian life.

To meet that mission the small group of volunteers works to help individual families deal with daily issues such as yard work and home repairs. Additionally, the group supports all military families through bigger events such as a Christmas Party and appreciation events.

The group also tries to provide for the soldiers themselves by providing support before and after deployment. When the Airmen of the 934th Airlift Wing deployed the group supplied a pre-deployment meal and then provided another meal when they returned.

President Karl Xavier III said the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Rosemount group is helping people in a meaningful way and hopes to do more in the future. The Rosemount group is small, but Xavier said they have dedicated people who make things happen.

The group works with the Minnesota Military Family Assistance Center to identify needs. Xavier said local businesses and organizations including the churches and schools have teamed up with the Yellow Ribbon to meet the needs of area service members and their families.

"There's a lot of interest in helping," said Hedstrom.

Because the 34th Infantry Division headquarters are in Rosemount, Hedstrom said there is a misconception that the group only supports National Guard members but she said they support all military service members and their families.

"We are here to support every branch of the military, every soldier and their families," said Hedstrom.

Hedstrom said the group is looking for more people to get involved. She said getting involved in the community has been enjoyable and she hopes others will take the opportunity to help.

"We can't let it just be adults," said Xavier.

Recently Apple Place Bowl in Apple Valley dedicated the funds from its annual golf tournament to support the Rosemount and Apple Valley Beyond the Yellow Ribbon programs. The Rosemount group received more than $5,000.

Xavier said the money will help the group become more visible in the community and will support their mission.

Going forward Xavier said they hope to build on the success of their first couple years by helping more families and being there when needed.

"There's a lot of work to be done but we're getting there," said Xavier.

The Rosemount Yellow Ribbon committee meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of the month at city hall. Anyone can attend.

For more information about the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program call Xavier at 651-322-2079 or email rosemountyellowribbon@gmail.com.

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Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
(651) 460-6606
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