The Central Minnesota Warrior to Citizen Initiative recently hosted its annual education conference in partnership with Minnesota School of Business and St. Cloud State University.
State Representative Tim O’Driscoll delivered opening remarks and St. Cloud City Attorney Matt Staehling welcomed the particpants. Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, Larry Shellito, was the keynote speaker and addressed the history of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon network and urged its continued development and support. Chaplain John Morris of the Minnesota National Guard introduced the topic of the conference: issues facing recently deployed veterans and their families.
Panel discussions centered on issues identified in a recent Minnesota National Guard survey of returning veterans as being the top concerns: employment, physical, mental and spiritual health needs, law enforcement and volunteerism. Terry Ferdinandt of the Stearns County Veterans Service Office facilitated the employment panel; Chaplain Morris led the health care panel; Mike Mathies of the Veterans Administration led the law enformecement panel; and Annette Kuyper, Director of Miitary Outreach, led the panel on volunteering needs.
In addition, resource booths were availale throughout the event which included eductation, counseling, family,