by ADAM GRUENEWALD
Tickets are now on sale for the fifth annual Beyond the Yellow Ribbon banquet on Friday, May 17, and committee members have continued to worked for veterans, active members and their families.
Norwood Young America Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee President Crystal Lemke reminds people that the group has been very active in the last five years.
Most recently, signs designating NYA as a “Yellow Ribbon City” have been placed at entrances to the city after NYA became the 200th city in Minnesota to be designated as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community in December.
Group efforts, which began five years ago, have continued as they have sent holiday care packages to service members serving overseas as well as state-side; checked in on service members, veterans, and their family members by sending cards, letters, or through phone calls; recognized and supported local children of service members, most recently by gifting a customized armed forces teddy bear to a young resident whose parent is being deployed.
Members also continue to get out and serve the community at the annual Taste of NYA, National Night Out, Stiftungsfest, Memorial Day ceremony, Veterans Day ceremony, and various school, church and service organization fundraisers.
Lemke urges people to talk to members of the group and contact them to get involved.
“Please, come talk to us,” said Lemke. “Feel free to share your experience, make suggestions, or inform us of anyone to whom we can provide support or assistance.”
This year’s banquet, as part of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Month in May and on Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Day, will be at the Willkommen Memorial Park Pavilion.
While also honoring service members and veterans, it will focus on recognizing and honoring World War II Veterans, as next month marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 1944.
“So far we’ve got quite a few World War II veterans that we are reaching out to now to invite out to the banquet,” said Lemke. “We have been able to reach many of them and talk to them and see what they are doing.”
Betty Strohfus, a World War II veteran, will serve as the speaker at the banquet. Strohfus is a Woman Air Force Service Pilot (WASP), who was inducted into the Minnesota Aviation Hall of Fame in 2000, and grew up in Faribault.
In terms of 2014 goals, Lemke said the 11-member committee continues to stay active and is looking to become a sponsor of Music in the Park. Andy Wigfield is also making a new banner for the organization to be placed at the five-way stop and members are reaching out to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office and working with other volunteer and service organizations.
“We’re hoping to be able to contact more people and reach out to them to see how they’re doing,” said Lemke.
Volunteers are welcome to attend general meetings, held the second Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the NYA City Hall conference room.
Tickets for the banquet on May 17, available until May 9 or until they are sold out, are being sold at Citizens State Bank and KleinBank in NYA.
“A special thanks goes out to everyone who has, and continues to, support our mission,” added Lemke. “Thank you so much for helping us, so that we can help others.”
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]