Hugo, MN


Yellow Ribbon Network Event History

Here you will find information on events held by the Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network. Thank you for your interest and support of the Yellow Ribbon Network.

 Foundation Proclamation

The City of Hugo Council was addressed on June 22, 2009 by Lt. Col. Barb O’Reilly to the process of becoming a Yellow Ribbon City. It took Hugo until January 2010, a mere six months to establish and receive Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proclamation that Hugo was a  Yellow Ribbon Network City. Since that time, Hugo has developed a rather cohesive number of businesses, faith-based organizations, educators, law enforcement and fire department members, civic organizations and Veteran groups to band together to support the Minnesota National Guard and their families throughout the cycle of deployment.

 March 2010-Pheasant Hunting, Clay Shooting, and Dinner

The Yellow Ribbon Network sponsored an all-expense paid Pheasant Hunt on March 14, 2010.  This event was designed to welcome home the 34th Infantry “The Red Bulls”. The Hugo Network raised $26,000 for the event which occurred March 14, 2010. The event

provided 100 soldiers and 50 volunteers with the opportunity to pheasant hunt and shoot clay pigeons. Some of the celebrity hosts were members of the Minnesota Vikings and the Minnesota  Timberwolves. The evening concluded with an impressive dinner for the participants including then Commander of the 34th Infantry, Major General Rick Nash who is now the Minnesota National Guard Adjutant General. It was an impressive start to subsequent events for the Hugo Network.


Picture Gallery

Click here for more photos

 Spring 2010-Welcome Home to the Red Bulls

The Hugo Network raises $2,000 for the professional Twins Baseball game tickets. They were used by many Service Members to have a relaxing time with their families.

 2010 and continuing-Family Work Completed

The Hugo Network continues to support families of the deployed by honoring multiple requests for assistance. As an example, lawns were mowed with a donated mower. While the local Boy Scouts provided the manpower, the arrangements were made by the volunteers. The Hugo Network also utilizes, an outside-of-network program, to provide meals for the families of the deployed. Additional assistance such as tree trimming, repair/replacement of hot water heaters and other appliances, landscaping, painting, air conditioner installation, furniture donations, moving assistance, and soliciting sporting events tickets for professional hockey, football and baseball is also accomplished. When emails for assistance go out to Hugo, someone from the group always steps up to help the Veterans and their families. There are so many talented and caring people in the Hugo Network that no request goes unanswered.

 Kuwait-Steaks to the Troops

A group of 50 volunteers arrived in Kuwait and were transported to various bases where soldiers of Minnesota's 1st Brigade Combat Team are deployed. They cooked steaks for troops of the 1st BCT while their families back home are treated to dinner and video conferencing in St. Paul.

 2010-Operation Military Pride

Photo courtesy of Deb Barnes/The Citizen Newspaper
Photo courtesy of Deb Barnes/The Citizen Newspaper

Operation Military Pride IX is the brainchild of Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network Volunteer and Blue Star Mom, Marilyn Stomberg who with other volunteers and partnering with the Minnesota Patriot Guard sent over 500 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies, coffee, books, magazines and a few stuffed animals to our troops serving overseas.

Letter from Brian in Afghanistan:
Thank you so much for the box of treats. I had to share them with my fellow airman from MN who are here with me. The coffee was a big hit, since we are working so many hours the caffeine is a must. I sent your email around with this picture, and everyone is so thankful not only for the goodies, but for the simple

fact that someone back home remembers that we are here. This place has a tendency to strip away your humanity, and gifts and notes from home help restore our souls.
I can't thank you and the Hugo gang enough.
Thanks again,

Other sponsors that teamed with Hugo were the Patriot Guard, Blue Star Mothers-Soaring Eagles Chapter, Starbucks, Dunn Brothers and Caribou Coffee.  With the cookies, coffee was also sent.  Each care package had a hand-written note thanking them for their service.

 Valentine Cookie Event

Sweet Martha’s Cookies has donated 10,000 cookies again this year to be sent to soldiers.

Dear Sweet Martha's,
I just received a fabulous back of chocolate chip cookies in the mail‐‐‐this was definitely a surprise! I have no idea how you got my name and address but your gesture was certainly welcome... The gentlemen who I donated a bucket to (you sent me 4!) who were working all night last night on project were very grateful as well. Thanks! These types of gestures go a LONG way here‐‐‐ not often we get homemade cookies, much less cookies that taste this good!
MAJ Travis Dettmer

 Spring 2010-Support of Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program

Volunteers from the Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network provided staffing for the Minnesota National Guard’s 30 and 60 day re-integration training for returning soldiers of the 34th Infantry Division. Volunteers served for two days at each of the two events.

 Winter 2010-Wedding Package for Service Member

The MN Timberwolves heard of the Pheasant Hunt earlier in the year and were so impressed that they offered a special $53,000 wedding package for a selected Veteran and their intended spouse.  The wedding was held on August 2011 for CWO Dan Britz and Heather Alm.

 January 2011-Hamburger Night Begins

On the fourth Wednesday of each month, the Hugo Network serves hamburgers to attending supporters. They obtain the product served from local sponsors and businesses. As of September 2011, they have raised $5,000 toward furthering their efforts in supporting Minnesota troops.

Thanks to our many sponsors:

Lake Area Bank
Bald Eagle Sportsmen Association

Quigley & family
Eckberg Lammers Law Firm
WSB Engineering (2)
Hugo Lions’ Club
Hugo Business Association
Boyd’s Promos
Wyoming Machine
Main St. Liquors
Johnson Turner Law Firm
Birch Lawn Care

 2011-Support for Landstuhl Project

The Landstuhl Hospital Care Project (LHCP) is a non-profit organization that provides comfort and relief items for military members who become sick, injured, or wounded from service in Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan. Donated items are distributed to patients at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany. The purpose of the program is to enhance the morale and welfare for troops and veterans by contributing quality of life items. Hugo donated $500 toward this project.

 2011-Mentorship for other cities

The Hugo Network has been recognized as a well-organized and consistently active group; thereby receiving requests from many local cities to assist them in forming their own network. Hugo’s mentorship included the cities of Forest Lake, Mahtomedi and Oakdale.

 February 2011-Sweet Martha's Cookies

The Network raised enough money to purchase, pack and mail 10,000 Sweet Martha Cookies for the Minnesota Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan for Valentine's Day.  In Minnesota, Sweet Martha Cookies are a big hit

and very appreciated.

Dear Sweet Martha's,
I just received a fabulous back of chocolate chip cookies in the mail‐‐‐this was definitely a surprise! I have no idea

how you got my name and address but your gesture was certainly welcome... The gentlemen who I donated a bucket to (you sent me 4!) who were working all night last night on project were very grateful as well. Thanks! These types of gestures go a LONG way here‐‐‐ not often we get homemade cookies, much less cookies that taste this good!
MAJ Travis Dettmer
TF Duke PAO.

 June 2011-Hugo Good Neighbor Days

At the 2011 celebration of Hugo Good Neighbor Days, Boreas Rex Keith LeBlanc, a Vietnam Veteran, bestows a Winter Carnival proclamation on the Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network and knighthood and ladyship on several network volunteers as Prince of the Northwind Robert Wesland announces their admission into Winter Carnival Royal Court and they are officially welcomed by Queen of the Snows Madalyn Dosch. As you can see by their smiling faces, a good time was had by all. Please welcome Sir David Snyder, Lady Barb Connolly, and Lady Marilyn Stomberg.

 July, 2011 Camp-out

Hugo YRN helped the Family Readiness Group for the unit's family camp-out at the Veteran's Rest Camp on Big Marine Lake on July 23, 2011 by donating funds for camping fees and providing help with child care-extra eyes at the beach and playground equipment.  See below for more information on this unit.
Eighty Soldiers of the Saint Cloud-based Company B, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment, will deploy to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. Operation New Dawn is the drawdown phase of US military operations in Iraq, and Minnesota aircrew members and support personnel will play an important part in the conclusion of military operations in Iraq.
Flying CH-47 Chinook cargo helicopters, the Company B mission is to provide aerial movement of troops, equipment and supplies for support of maneuver, combat and combat service support operations.  In late November, these troops will travel to Fort Hood, Texas, for approximately 2 months of pre-deployment training before their 10 month deployment to Iraq.

“I have confidence in these exceptional Citizen-Soldiers and their ability to complete this important mission with success and honor,” said Minnesota Adjutant General Major General Larry Shellito.  

Company B was organized on October 1, 2005, as a result of Army Transformation with its battalion headquartered in West Jordan, Utah. This is the second deployment for the Company B. After having been formed for only six months, Company B was mobilized in March of 2006, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

 July 2011-Female Care Packages

The Hugo Network partnered with member businesses of the White Bear Lake Chamber of Commerce. The member businesses boxed 25 care packages with specialized contents for female soldiers. The Hugo Network obtained the female soldiers’ addresses overseas from the Minnesota National Guard, which assisted with the mailing.

 2011-Honoring the Founder of the Minnesota's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program

The Hugo Network obtained the signatures of all the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Entities on one yellow t-shirt. This shirt was presented to Major General Larry Shellito, the architect and
founder of the concept of the Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Program in March 2011.

 Summer 2011-Hugo Supports Deploying 1st Brigade Combat Team

The 1st Brigade Combat Team was training at Ft McCoy, Sparta, Wisconsin prior to deployment to Kuwait. The St Paul, Minnesota-based group, Serve Our Troops, provided steak dinners to 6,300 Service Members and their families. By soliciting donations, the Hugo Network provided bus transportation for family members to visit and share a meal with

their loved one prior to
deployment. Volunteers from the Hugo Network helped serve the meal in a 2,000 person capacity tent. For one day, this event was the “largest restaurant in America.” The Family Day was a complete success with three buses traveling to Wisconsin for the entire day.

The Yellow Ribbon Network provided buses to Fort McCoy to reunite families and soldiers prior to their year long deployment to Kuwait.  For more pictures check out the photos on Picasa by clicking here.

 2011-Support for Minnesota Military Family Foundation (MMFF)

The MMFF provides financial assistance to military families with unexpected and urgent needs; their major fundraiser is an annual golf event. Hugo solicited donor/participants for the event and obtained auction items from local area businesses to help the MMFF raise money at this event. Hugo collaborates and coordinates with individual deployed military families and the military’s Family Assistance Centers to access grants from MMFF. These grants are the means to aid in the deployed family’s needs such as: mortgage payments, auto repairs, home repairs, and unforeseen medical expenses.

 2011-Sponsored Disabled Veteran Rest Camp

The Hugo Network provided funds to pay the camping fees for a St Cloud,Minnesota-based Air National Guard Unit’s Family Readiness Group Camping Picnic. Volunteers also helped staff the event.

 Summer/Fall of 2011-1st Brigade Combat Events

Volunteers from the Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network attended multiple deployment ceremonies for various deploying units. The volunteers wished to express their support for and recognition of the service and sacrifice of the deploying Service Members and their families.

 Fall 2011-Care Packages for the 1st Brigade Combat Team

Deploying soldiers provided “wish lists” of desired items. Hugo volunteers raised funds to buy and solicited donations to package and ship 100 of these care packages to bases in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

 October 2011-Support for the Gold Star Family Retreat

The Hugo Network provided funding for program expenses at the annual Gold Star Family Retreat Weekend. This event not only supported the family members of Fallen Heroes but also held a Memorial for those lost.

 March 2012 Care Packaging Event

Thanks to the many to the many volunteers who collected goods, supplies, and donations. And thanks to the donors of materials and goods and money. The YRN shipped 1,041 pounds in 88 boxes. Those 88 boxes are going to units to be distributed amongst many more soldiers and sailors.

 May 2012 - Bathroom Remodel Project


The family of a deployed Hugo Red Bull soldier gets a bathroom remodel thanks to the Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network’s success in being awarded a grant from the Home Depot Foundation.  The Home Depot’s nation-wide program is aimed at helping veterans remodel their homes and while the Foundation grants the funds necessary to purchase the materials the Home Depot store employees volunteer their labor to complete the project. According to store manager, Margie Georgi, “the Team Depot program at the Forest Lake Home Depot Store in cooperation with the Yellow

Ribbon Network reminds us of the power of volunteering and how each person can make a difference.”

Thanks go out to all the volunteers who donated their time and talents: Electrical work by Mike Countryman, Plumbing by Mike DeVine, Tile and Grout by Fuad Husidic, General labor and installation by John Lisowy and Travis Parson, Material list and construction guide, Chuck Priesler, and keeping it all moving smoothly was Forest Lake store manager Margie Georgi.

The family intends to have all the volunteers over for a cookout as a way of saying thanks.

 December 2012 Sea of Goodwill Award

Chuck Haas and Gretchen Martens
Chuck Haas and Gretchen Martens
Homeward Deployed recognized the City of Hugo's Yellow Ribbon Network as the nation's leading mid-sized city in support of our military members and their families. Gretchen Martens, Founder and CEO of
Marilyn and the Generals
Marilyn and the Generals
Homeward Deployed in Washington, DC presented the award at a ceremony at the Hugo City Hall on December 14th, social hour and refreshments 4pm--5pm, presentation ceremony at 5pm. The Adjutant General,
MG Nash
MG Nash
MG Rick Nash was in attendance as well as BG Neal Loidolt.

Award Ceremony
Award Ceremony

 April 2013 Care Packaging Event

Way to go Packers:

No, not the Green Bay Packers, but the Care Package Packers from the Hugo Yellow Ribbon Network and Soaring Eagles Chapter of Blue Star Mothers of America. You all ROCK!

Thanks to everyone who came Friday night to set up and those who came Saturday morning to do the packing.

You packed and shipped over 1,700 pounds of wish list items to our troops. The units

that received packages were:

Company C 2-221th Medivac Shindad Air Base
Chaplain ASOSI EDET 2416 Shindad Air Base
147th FSMD FOB Salerno
147th FSMD FOB Sharana
Chaplain Camp

Buehring, Kuwait

Packages also were sent to various individuals.

 October 2013 Certificate of Appreciation

 Fall 2013 - Firewood for Veterans!

Veterans brought their trailer or truck to either the Stillwater Prison or the North Branch MNDOT station for a load of firewood.