Our View: Honor soldiers, support the Yellow Ribbon NetworkIf you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know someone who is a member of the Red Bulls. If you don’t, there is a very good chance you know someone who knows someone who is a Red Bull.
If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know someone who is a member of the Red Bulls. If you don’t, there is a very good chance you know someone who knows someone who is a Red Bull.
The Rosemount-based 34th Infantry Division of the Minnesota National Guard is made up of more than 1,000 troops from all over the state and from 13 other states, but many Red Bulls are from right here in Woodbury. Spc. Dan Drevnick was one of them. Spc. Carlos Wilcox grew up just down the road in Cottage Grove. And although Spc. James Wertish, came from Olivia, about two hours west of Twin Cities, he spent plenty of time in and around the National Guard Armory in downtown Stillwater.
The three Guardsmen, who were members of the military police unit of the Red Bulls that trained in Stillwater, died Thursday, July 16 in the same attack on their base in Basra, Iraq.
News of their death sent a shockwave through the communities they came from, and provided a wake-up call for those of us back home, that, although the situation may be continuing to improve in Iraq, the dangers are still present.
But the deaths of these three young citizen soldiers, has also provided a wake-up call to those of us here in the epicenter of Red Bull country - that we need to do more to support the men and women who have made and are making the decision to put their lives on the line to secure our freedom.
On Sunday a group of community leaders, who belong to the Yellow Ribbon Network of Washington County, spearheaded the organization of a silent vigil at the Veterans Memorial in downtown Stillwater to provide an opportunity for the community to mourn the loss of Drevnick, Wilcox and Wertish.
A few hundred people showed up to the vigil and demonstrated their appreciation for the sacrifices made by these brave men, who had their entire lives before them. If such an event can be measured by the amount of reverence paid to those it was put on for, then the vigil was a success and the Yellow Ribbon Network of Washington County is to be commended for its efforts to provide an outlet for family, friends and supporters of the fallen soldiers to mourn and honor their heroes.
Although it is an unfortunate way for the community to come together to express their love and support of their local Guard unit, we hope this event serves as a springboard for the community to step up and do more than just say they support their troops, but to actually express it in actions of kindness to their families.
Drevnick, Wilcox and Wertish were unmarried and all under the age of 30. But there are many men and women serving their country who have families here in our community that deserve any support we can provide them. And if you spend any time around military families, you know that often these families are too proud to ask for help. That’s exactly why the Yellow Ribbon Network of Washington County was created earlier this year.
In the coming weeks and months, the community leaders who formed the Yellow Ribbon Network of Washington County will be formulating an action plan that will involve reaching out to businesses, churches, schools, and individual residents to step up to the plate and support our deployed military members and their families with various resources. It is incumbent upon all of us to evaluate how we can lend a hand to our neighbors, who also happen to be military members, while they are protecting us at home and abroad.
For more information on the Yellow Ribbon Network of Washington County please go to: http://yellowribbonnetwork.com/