I have been asked by people in Elk River, “What can I do to help our active-duty military and veterans of all ages?” Get involved with one of the many veterans organizations in our state. Ask the veteran who is a relative or maybe just someone who lives next door, if she or he belongs to any of the veterans organizations.
Encourage them to join one of the many available. Once they have joined, they will find that their fellow veterans have the same experiences as most who have served our country. All of the veterans organizations have service officers who can help with many of the issues faced by returning veterans.
Elk River is attempting to become a Yellow Ribbon Community. That means that we would come together to support our fellow community members who are serving on active duty and their families. That support would also include all veterans in our community. We could never repay those who have served for the many sacrifices they have made for our country. Support could be something as simple as a couple of hours baby sitting, mowing a lawn, home repair, fixing a meal, a ride to the store, or just spending time with them.
Volunteers are needed to coordinate the communities’ efforts to help military families. Our community is talented and has a lot to offer. Volunteers are needed for the following committees: education-youth programs, public safety-judicial, business-employers, faith based-medical-social services and city leadership-civic organizations-veterans organizations.
Contact Don Heinzman at 763-441-1656. With your help we can join the other Minnesota communities that have stepped forward. — Ralph Donais, Elk River (Editor’s note: Donais is the chairman of the United Veterans Legislative Council of Minnesota.)