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'Beyond the Yellow Ribbon' offers support to military families

A new statewide program supporting service men and women is coming to Douglas County.

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon unites all areas within a community to create a comprehensive network that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, resources and employers for the purpose of proactively supporting service members and military families.

A kick-off event to learn more about this program is set for next Tuesday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the Alexandria Technical and Community College Law Enforcement Center, in Room 743.

The event is free and open to the public.

Since 9/11, thousands of Minnesotans have served the country and because of this, the Minnesota National Guard has pioneered the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program in hopes of changing how soldiers are reintegrated back into their communities.

By developing a Yellow Ribbon network, say organizers, communities unite to honor and embrace those affected by military deployments. The outward showing of support enables successful transitions all the way home.

The Yellow Ribbon Program has been talked about at Alexandria City Council meetings, Douglas County Board meetings and at Alexandria School District 206 Board meetings.

All three entities are in support of the program.

According to the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon website - - in order to become a part of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon project, communities will develop a sustainable action plan demonstrating its commitment to service members and families. Communities will identify and connect leaders in key areas across the community, leverage existing support activities, build awareness throughout the community and take action.

Organizers are looking forward to the December 7 meeting so that they can discuss the county-wide initiative and move forward in making Douglas County a Yellow Ribbon Community.

For more information about the program, visit its website at or call Staff Sergeant Andrew Allison at (320) 762-7817.