A Yellow Ribbon County Pipestone County committee working for service members
PIPESTONE – A proclamation ceremony took place Tuesday at the Pipestone County EMT building in honor of Pipestone County being named the newest Yellow Ribbon county.
Since 2008, Yellow Ribbon communities have united 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.
"Yellow Ribbon Networks are extremely important and vital in connecting returning service members with employers and ensuring that our service members and their families realize that the leaders of the Minnesota National Guard and their community care for their well-being and are prepared to assist them," said Army Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash, Minnesota National Guard adjutant general.
Back in 2010, the county’s Yellow Ribbon committee visited Camp Ripley in Little Falls to observe different military pre-deployment training.
“We just kind of dove right into being a Yellow Ribbon community and worried about paperwork later,” said Cristy Appel, chairperson of Pipestone County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon. “Helping our troops and their families is just necessary.”
Appel, who served in the Air Force from 1979 to 1983, is part of the 20-person committee that helps serve service members and their families in Pipestone County and beyond.
“It feels good to be recognized for this, and I believe the work we do for the troops and their families shouldn’t ever stop,” she said.
The committee has done various projects during the past years, including shingling a roof for a deployed soldier, shoveling driveways so spouses of the deployed can get to work and replacing windows in homes.
It have also continually donated money to a military member’s family who has a child diagnosed with cancer.
“We also send cards and care packages to any service member that we know of even if they’re not in our district,” Appel said. “In fact, we just sent one to a man from Sioux Falls who was just deployed. So we really do try and help everyone.”
The Pipestone County effort transcends the military to any group in need and builds a stronger, more compassionate community.
"The men and women of the Minnesota National Guard, other U.S. Forces, and their families, have earned our admiration and appreciation,” Gov. Mark Dayton said in a press release. “They have also earned our continuing assistance. I thank Pipestone County for joining over 250 Yellow Ribbon cities, counties and businesses who have committed to support our Minnesota heroes when they return home."
Going forward, the Pipestone County Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Committee plans to continue its efforts, and it still has monies available to help service members and their families.
“Anything red, white and blue I’m honored to do it,” Appel said. “If anyone knows any military family that needs help, help them now. Don’t wait for someone else to do it; do it out of the goodness of your heart.”
For more information on how to help a military family, contact Appel at firstname.lastname@example.org.