City of Duluth recognized for support given to military

Richard C. Dumancas of the St Louis County Veterans Service Office, starts off the Yellow Ribbon ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2010 at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn.  The event was held to celebrate Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City from the culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Richard Dumancas and Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager.  (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Donald Acton)

Richard C. Dumancas of the St Louis County Veterans Service Office, starts off the Yellow Ribbon ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2010 at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn. The event was held to celebrate Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City from the culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Richard Dumancas and Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Donald Acton)

Lieutenant Colonel Jon S Safstrom speaks at the Yellow Ribbon ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2010 at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn.  The event was held to celebrate Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City from the culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Richard Dumancas and Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager.  (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Donald Acton)

Lieutenant Colonel Jon S Safstrom speaks at the Yellow Ribbon ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2010 at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn. The event was held to celebrate Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City from the culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Richard Dumancas and Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Donald Acton)

Mayor Don Ness shakes hands with Jennifer Kuhlman as she makes her way to the podium to speak at the Yellow Ribbon ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2010 at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn.  The event was held to celebrate Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City from the culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Richard Dumancas and Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager.  (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Donald Acton)

Mayor Don Ness shakes hands with Jennifer Kuhlman as she makes her way to the podium to speak at the Yellow Ribbon ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2010 at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn. The event was held to celebrate Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City from the culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Richard Dumancas and Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager. (U.S. Air Force photo by SSgt Donald Acton)

DULUTH, Minn -- Members of the 148th Fighter Wing helped celebrate the city of Duluth's recognition as a Yellow Ribbon City today at the Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, Minn. Local leaders, military commanders, as well as members of the community were on hand to show their support and recognize those who worked so hard to receive the designation.

"This designation reflects commitment to continue to expand the support and services we can offer," said Mayor Don Ness, city of Duluth. "I am so proud of the City of Duluth and am grateful for the leadership of the Duluth's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee and their success in building community support for our military families."
The recognition is a culmination of work completed by the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee led by co-chairs Jennifer Kuhlman, 148th Fighter Wing Airman and Family Readiness Program Manager, and Richard Dumancas, St. Louis County Veterans Service Officer.

The initiative started in April of 2010 when more than 40 community members came together to develop the foundation for Duluth's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon (BTYR) action plan. The group worked on the plan for several months, then submitted it to the state office of BTYR for review and approval. Duluth's action plan includes specific actions such as identifying volunteer services, developing a military resource guide, and creating a relocation package for military families moving into the area.

"We asked local businesses, services and providers to get involved and the numbers that showed up to help were just incredible", said Kuhlman.

"Rich and Jennifer have done just a wonderful job," said Mayor Ness. "The way they were able to reach out into the community and bring it all in and put this together. I cannot thank them enough."

Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is a program started by the Minnesota National Guard to help provide services, training and resources to service members and their families throughout the deployment cycle. According to information from the Minnesota National Guard, the action plans put together by the recognized counties, cities and companies demonstrate a commitment and understanding that they are suited to support their military families today and into the future.

"We have great people in this community that want to do everything they can to take care of our military members and their families," said Kuhlman, "whether they are currently overseas or making the transition back to civilian life...there are services and providers here locally that can and want to help with whatever they may need."

"It goes beyond words to say how important it is for our members to know they have support from not only the base but from the community," said Lt. Col. John Safstrom, 148th Fighter Wing Vice Wing Commander. "To know that when they are deployed their families will be taken care of and then when they get home they will be taken care of."

In December 2008, Minnesota Gov. Timothy Pawlenty proclaimed the first Yellow Ribbon City, Farmington, Minn. There are currently 41 cities, counties and companies in the Minnesota Yellow Ribbon network.

For more information on Beyond the Yellow Ribbon or to become a volunteer go to www.btyr.org.