Minnesota companies, communities unite to support military community 

More than 120 representatives from Minnesota companies and communities gathered at the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon conference at Boston Scientific in Maple Grove on April 11, 2024.

In the past, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’s corporate and community networks held their own separate conferences. This was the first combined conference to connect all the networks and help them develop ways to collaborate and unify their efforts in support of Minnesota’s veterans, service members, and their families. This year, the conference’s theme was Community and Corporate Collaboration.

“Beyond the Yellow Ribbon is proof of the power and impact made when everyone comes together to help one another,” said Air Force Col. Jesse Carlson, commander of the Minnesota National Guard’s Saint Paul-based 133rd Airlift Wing, who spoke at the event. “The program has become a success because of the many companies, organizations, communities, and individuals who tirelessly work together in support of our military community.”

Conference participants listened to speakers, including a tearful impact statement from Veteran Patrick Nickle, a Bronze Star Medal recipient who retired from the military in 2016 after 26 years of service. He is now a Cottage Grove police officer and has been since been awarded a medal of valor for his actions as in serving of his local community. When he lost everything in a house fire, the Mississippi River Valley Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Network, for whom he serves as a volunteer, assisted him with whatever he needed, including helping him rebuild what had been his favorite part of his house to relax and spend time with his family, the deck.

“…I cannot thank them enough for what they have done for me and my family,” said Nickle, who thanked everyone for all they do to support the military community. “I’m telling you, the impact that you have on these families. And for me it’s more than I have to give back.”

Conference participants also heard from community network panelists and were provided the opportunity to connect with corporate and community networks near their workplaces and homes, learn about what each other does, and how they can assist one another. Several corporate and community networks were recognized and presented with an award for their work and commitment in supporting the state’s military community. The award recipients included Rosemount Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, Mississippi River Valley Beyond the Yellow Ribbon, the Minnesota Department of Transportation, and Medtronic.

Boston Scientific was honored to serve as the conference host.

“As part of our ongoing commitment to supporting military employees and communities, Boston Scientific is proud to celebrate its fifth year as a Beyond the Yellow Ribbon company,” said Mike Jones, senior vice president and president, Endoscopy, at Boston Scientific. “We are honored to host the 2024 BTYR Spring Conference as we continue to support their ongoing work of connecting service members and their families with community support, training, services, and resources.”

Also known as BTYR, Beyond the Yellow Ribbon’s mission is to establish and sustain a comprehensive community and corporate support network that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, and resources to meet the needs of Minnesota’s military veterans, service members, and families in all military branches. There are currently 80 active companies and organizations and 53 cities and counties within the Minnesota’s BTYR network. To learn more, visit: MinnesotaNationalGuard.ng.mil/btyr.

By Cristina Oxtra

Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs