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Support for reintegration comes through Yellow Ribbon Program

5 April 2009 - Francis Light, Military Life Family Consultant speaks to the troops about the Yellow Ribbon Program event conducted at the 242nd Combat Communications Squadron, Geiger Airfield. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sergeant Anthony Ennamorato / 141 ARW Public Affairs)

5 April 2009 - Francis Light, Military Life Family Consultant speaks to the troops about the Yellow Ribbon Program event conducted at the 242nd Combat Communications Squadron, Geiger Airfield. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sergeant Anthony Ennamorato / 141 ARW Public Affairs)

5 April 2009 -- With the rapid pace of deployments, the National Guard has recognized the needs of service members to reintegrate into their civilian lives effectively and efficiently. The purpose of the Yellow Ribbon Program fills just that need. The program is a federally mandated program designed to serve members of the Washington National Guard, their families and employers. The program works hand-in-hand with the Washington National Guard Family Programs to ensure that service members and their families receive the services available. These include: family counseling, DEERs, Tri-Care, VA support and financial planning. Washington's program focuses heavily on the reintegration of service members and their families upon return from deployment. Service members and their families attend reintegration events at 30, 60 and 90 days post-deployment. The Fairchild Air Force Base Yellow Ribbon Support Specialist, Dena Lu Young, a military spouse for 18 years said, "the biggest benefit of the Yellow Ribbon Program is being able to get the families more involved with the Guard. In the past, families felt separated and not part of it. Letting the families know where they can go to get information is the best part of the program." The Yellow Ribbon Program is a bridge to the resources, information and points of contact for organizations within the community to help service members as they reconnect with society. Michelle Husser, Washington State Yellow Ribbon Support Specialist, has seen immediate success in the program. Husser who has been on staff since October 2008 said, "We've put on five post-deployment events and three pre-deployment events. We've had a lot of acceptance and goodwill with everything that is going on." For additional information on the Yellow Ribbon Program, contact Dena Lu Young at (509) 570-4034 or dena.young1@ng.army.mil.