Sen. Tester congratulates Red Lodge on becoming Montana's first Yellow Ribbon Community

Carbon County News

by Alastair Baker

Montana Senator Jon Tester said it was an “honor” to announce that Red Lodge was to become the first Yellow Ribbon Community in Montana when he spoke at the Elk’s Club, Friday night.

Red Lodge Mayor Brian Roat introduced Sen. Tester.

“It is truly an honor to be part of this event. We are making history here tonight. It is an honor to work with veterans here for the last four years. The Joe Papez Chapter of the Purple Heart do some credible work,” said Tester. “I had the honor to get to know Joe and I know he and his wife, Dorreen, are smiling down on us tonight because he always believed in looking after fellow veterans and active duty troops and their families for their entire life times. That is exactly what Yellow Ribbon Communities do. Red Lodge is a great fit to become the first ever Yellow Ribbon Community because the businesses here are proud to help the folks who serve us.”

Earlier, Tester had thanked some of the Yellow Ribbon Steering Committee, Glory Mahan (city representative), Hank Tuell (chair), Warene Wall and John Toler (co-chairs). He also thanked the Chamber of Commerce, Red Lodge City Council, the Carbon County Commissioners, business owners, and service organizations for their help in this project.

“I am very proud of Red Lodge, Montana, you guys are setting the standard, this stuff doesn’t happen without a lot of work from a lot of people and that work will continue. Thank you for your good work and your efforts, God bless each and every one of you,” said Tester.

During his speech Tester also announced, amid applause and cheers, that Phase Two construction of the VA building in Billings had been approved.

“Once it is finalized it will be nearly double in size, and provide better health care, create jobs, 70 in total,” he said. “Military service is a proud tradition in Montana, there are 103, 000 Veterans in this state, and literally hundreds serving overseas as I speak. We owe them every promise we made to them,” said Tester.

Tuell spoke afterwards, stressing the importance of businesses and individuals coming aboard to make the Yellow Ribbon Community a success.

“The community can provide support and training and a place to come and heal. We can create a network of organizations that allows us to bring all these committees together and make us a better community,” said Tuell.

“This is a life long commitment, not just today, but forever,” he said. “We have caring people with hearts and we have a place people can come and relax.”

Montana is the second state in the country to have a Yellow Ribbon Community, the other is Minnesota.

Commenting on the out pouring of help from the 60 strong audience, Tester said “Oh my goodness, I can not believe how fast this has happened. The turn out here tonight tells you a lot about this community, and the organization. It seems like you guys have been in to this for three or four years.”

A Yellow Ribbon Community unites all areas within a community to create a comprehensive network that connects and coordinates agencies, organizations, resources and employers for the purpose of proactively supporting service members and military families.

To learn more about becoming part of the Yellow Ribbon Community contact the Red Lodge Elks Club.