What at first appears to be a philosophical question takes on a more concrete meaning thanks to an organization in Minnesota striving to provide a response to that question.
Beyond the Yellow Ribbon provides communities with the tools necessary to offer an ongoing, lasting support for returning veterans and their families. The organization seeks to answer the desire to "do something" for our heroes by pooling resources, connecting services and ensuring a net of support for service members during the deployment cycle and beyond. The organization's efforts have been rewarded by recognition outside the borders of their home state.
The organization has launched local initiatives throughout the state of Minnesota with the community kick-off event attracting those interested in helping in the organized support efforts. The organization's website is chock full of information and links to resources that military families need. The site also provides information on supporting the efforts of local chapters or even starting a local chapter in your own area.
This wonderful idea has been a long time in coming and it's amazing to see what the Minnesota groups have accomplished in such a short time. It's also refreshing to see the message entering the mainstream that it isn't necessarily the big things that make the deepest impression. As five communities gathered to learn more about the program, one military wife noted that when neighbors noticed her shoveling her driveway at midnight (because her young children were safely sleeping in their beds), they began to take turns shoveling for her. She shared that what appears to be a small act of kindness can make the biggest difference for someone with a deployed spouse.
Minnesotans are demonstrating a can-do attitude that has quickly enveloped many communities in their state. That's exciting to see and a model that could be replicated in other states where individuals would like to pool resources and create a safety net for their returning veterans and their families.