Veterans program going national

Great Falls Tribune

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Senate Appropriations Committee has agreed to expand the National Guard’s Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program to all 50 states, an effort Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has pushed for the past two years.

The Appropriations Committee unanimously approved legislation Thursday to pay for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The measure also includes funding to expand the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program being used in Montana.

The Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program prepares service members and their families both for deployment and their return.

“Today’s vote means that all National Guard families will get better counseling services before, during and after a loved one leaves to serve in our military — just like they do in Montana,” Tester said. “This will also benefit Montana guardsmen and women by providing counseling and financial planning to help families at home when their loved ones put their lives on hold to serve our country.”

Earlier this year, Tester invited Montana National Guard Brig. Gen. Brad Livingston to testify before the Veterans’ Affairs Committee about Montana’s version of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program.

The measure is expected to be considered by the full Senate next week.