Yellow Ribbon Program provides valuable assistance to Guardsmen

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt Aaron Perkins
  • 142nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
As many Guardsmen know these days, it is sometimes hard to get readjusted back to the routine of civilian life when they have been away on a military deployment for a period of time. The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program (YRRP) is designed to help Guardsmen with this transition.

The organization is setup to help educate service members, and their families, on the resources and benefits available to them. It's not just about getting through deployment - it's about reducing the stress of transitioning into and out of each deployment phase, supporting the member's reintegration, and meeting the unique challenges that National Guard service members and families face by connecting them with their local support community.

Staff Sgt. Seth Clark, from the 142nd Fighter Wing Civil Engineer Squadron, who attended the Yellow Ribbon event held in Bend, Oregon, shared his thoughts.

"It's nice to have all the resources available under one roof, to be able to go around and talk to different people and organizations that can help you out."

The YRRP works with a variety of Federal offices from the Departments of Labor and Veterans Affairs and the Small Business Administration, as well as local service providers, such as Veteran Service organizations and the American Red Cross, to help service members and their families navigate through the numerous Department of Defense, Veterans Affairs and State systems.

Greg Ford, a local service provider from the Central Oregon Veterans Center, was just one of many local organizations on hand to talk to returning Guardsmen.

"I always love coming to these events," said Ford. "They're always run spot on, and everyone is really great to work with."

Bobbi Bourne, a local representative from the Serving Armed Forces (SAF) branch of the American Red Cross in Bend, Oregon, detailed her mission.

"We're here today to help inform families about how to contact to service members and their command when they are deployed in case of emergencies that occur here at home," Said Bourne.  "We are also here to educate families on preparedness for situations like an earthquake, to make sure they have a 72-hour disaster kit prepared just in case with all the pertinent information."

A highlight of the event was welcoming a few members of the Oklahoma National Guard who were on site to observe and take notes on how the Oregon YRRP does business.

"This is one of the more well-known Yellow Ribbon programs, so we're here to guinea pig and see what we like to hopefully bring back to our program," said Staff Sgt. Garrett Davis, an Oklahoma Air Guardsmen. "So far it has been really great, high energy and enthusiasm. You can tell people here care about what they do and want to help returning service members and ones who are getting ready to deploy."