Posted at: 08/29/2012 5:48 PM
Updated at: 08/29/2012 6:45 PM
By: Gordon Severson
Major General Visits Area to Discuss Military Issues
(ABC 6 News) -- They're back from their mission, but still need our help. On Wednesday the top military man in Minnesota visited our area to discuss ongoing military issues.
Even though it's been several months since the National Guard Red Bulls fulfilled its latest mission to Kuwait, some soldiers and their families still need help.
Right now, one of the biggest issues is finding employment.
Since starting the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon initiative, the state of Minnesota has been seen as a pioneer for helping veterans.
Now that many soldiers are back home, organizers say it's time to change.
"It's time for a transition," says Sheila Kiscaden of SE Minnesota Beyond the Yellow Ribbon.
They’re going from a group aimed at supporting families through a deployment, to one that helps them afterward.
Employment is still near the top of the list.
"We're seeing huge success. This battalion alone had over 250 soldiers looking for employment. With all the job fairs we've put on and all the work DEED has done and our governor has done, we're down to about 24-28 soldiers looking for employment. That's a huge success," Major General Richard Nash explains.
That's only this battalion. The entire brigade consists of 2,700 soldiers, 1,100 of them came home unemployed.
Now, less than 5% are looking for work. So Beyond the Yellow Ribbon groups are focusing their attention on emotional support. The only problem is finding the families that need the help.
"Service people are proud families you know. They don't beg for help. That's going to be the biggest concern now," says Albert Lea Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Chair John Severtson.
During Wednesday's discussion, several people mentioned the children and families
Many are still dealing with emotional problems even though their parent is back from the war.
"These deployments are very stressful on families. I want my nephew and other military families to know that people in their community care about them and will have their back and be there to support them," Kiscaden says.
Right now the biggest event for veterans is the job fair on October 11th in Rochester.
Several Beyond the Yellow Ribbon groups are setting up events as well.