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Beyond the Yellow Ribbon: County considers program for veterans, deployed soldiers

The Beltrami County Board of Commissioners took the initial step Tuesday in helping bring a new support group to the area.

Capt. Michael Obach, Army National Guard service officer and northwest region coordinator, presented Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, a support program for families of veterans and deployed soldiers.

The concept is for communities to offer similar benefits to the families of deployed National Guard members as regular Army spouses and children receive when they live on bases. The help could range from home repairs to financial assistance.

"Sometimes we see it's the small things that matter," Obach said. "Bemidji has been tremendous for giving support to veterans and deployed soldiers."

Obach, who is based in Moorhead, Minn., said an open house to introduce the program to the community is tentatively set for 5:30 p.m. June 15 in the Bemidji National Guard Armory.

"Basically, right now we're in the building phase," he said.

What he needs from the community is contacts and citizen leaders for the program. He said he will be working with Beltrami County Veterans Service Officer Julie Harris on the preliminaries of the program.