Army Reserve and National Guard hold joint Yellow Ribbon event
By Sgt. 1st Class Joel Quebec
ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 15, 2011) – In what planners and officials hope will not be a one-time occurrence, the Army Reserve and Florida Army National Guard conducted the first joint Yellow Ribbon Reintegration event on September 10-11, 2011 at the Rosen Centre hotel in Orlando.
Through a series of fortunate events, Mr. Mark Daniels of the 81st Regional Support Command and Maj. Sarah McLevy of the Florida Army National Guard were able to coordinate service providers to Reserve and Guard Soldiers alike. With so many Soldiers deploying and redeploying due to the operational tempo of the past ten years, the service providers have a bit of a hard time making every Yellow Ribbon event that is planned.
“This seemed like a great opportunity to get something more out of the limited resources,” Daniels said. “If we can help the resource providers to be a little less stressed and stretched, it’ll be more cost effective and anything that makes it less of a hassle is a good thing.”
“Some months have an event every weekend, and one weekend had five events in different places,” McLevy said. “I don’t want to do an event without a key provider, but I understand why they are at another [Reserve] event instead of mine.”
Since the main service providers are often the same people for so many events, when Daniels and McLevy discovered that they were having an event during the same time frame they happily coordinated to get the same place for the same time in order to utilize the same service providers.
“It’s flowing really well,” McLevy said.
She explained that she feels for the providers who are hard pressed to get to events planned by different entities but are not inclined to refuse to come due to their dedication to the troops.
“Since they can’t be in two places at once, it’s better to have two groups in one place for them to provide more support,” she said.
With the coordination, the Guard provided support staff. They set up a DEERS and ID making station for anyone who needed to update the ID cards.
“I’m delighted the Florida Guard is fighting this fight with us,” said Daniels. “We’re looking forward to doing a better job of resources.”
Also in attendance was Maj. Gen. James D. Tyre, the Assistant Adjutant General for Florida. He addressed the Soldiers and families in the audience and while he had the guard contingent stand up he spoke to all the Soldiers as one Army.
“You are the centerpiece of the profession of arms,” he told them.
Both Maj. Gen. Tyre and the Adjutant General Maj. Gen Emmett R. Titshaw Jr. were there to visit their Soldiers and were happy to see such a joint venture successfully conducted. Although this event went well, there will continue to be challenges in the planning future events. Besides the time and place coordination there are also challenges with the providers.
“The challenge is to educate the briefers on their audiences and the different reintegration issues,” McLevy explained. “Since some Soldiers are mobilized but remain in the U.S., we need a briefing format that addresses all their needs.”