FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 3, 2007
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Semonti Mustaphi (Klobuchar) 202 228-3783
LeRoy Coleman (Coleman) 202-224-5641
COLEMAN, KLOBUCHAR INTRODUCE NATIONAL GUARD REINTEGRATION BILL
Legislation creates a national reintegration program for returning Guard troops and their families.
Washington D.C. – Recognizing the need to support National Guard soldiers and their families dealing with increased deployment schedules, Minnesota Senators Norm Coleman and Amy Klobuchar joined Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) today in introducing the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program Act of 2007. This legislation creates a nation-wide program for reintegration of National Guard soldiers based on the highly successful Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program created by the Minnesota National Guard. The national reintegration program created by this legislation will provide informational events and activities to assist National Guard soldiers, families, and community members through all phases of their deployment cycle including pre and post deployment.
“Our National Guard troops are making great sacrifices every day in order to protect our nation and defend our freedom,” said Coleman. “We owe it to these brave citizen-soldiers and their families to provide them with all of the support we can before, during, and after their deployments. I’ve heard concerns from Guard families throughout Minnesota and from our soldiers on the ground in Iraq about the need for an improved National Guard support structure. Our important legislation will build on the successes of Minnesota ’s innovative Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program to make this enhanced support a reality.”
“We have an obligation to wrap our arms around those who sacrifice for us,” said Klobuchar. “This program, created with the support of Senator Mark Dayton, draws on the strengths of our communities to help ease the transition to civilian life for National Guard soldiers and their families as they reunite. And we will keep pushing to fund this crucial service in Minnesota .”
Specifically, the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program created by this legislation will focus on support for Reserve Component soldiers and their families during each of the four phases of their deployment cycle including pre-deployment, deployment, demobilization, and post-deployment. The events and activities created by this legislation include family and marriage counseling, financial planning and education, small business planning, community outreach, and healthcare and veterans benefits education. The bill would also require reintegration activity seminars 30, 60, and 90 days after soldiers return home to assist returning troops and their families with specific challenges presented by the reintegration process.
The bill will also create an Office for Reintegration Programs within the National Guard Bureau to implement and monitor the effectiveness of the program.