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Cottage Grove proclaimed a Yellow Ribbon city

Gov. Mark Dayton (far left) and Maj. Gen. Richard C. Nash (far right) stand with, from left to right, city of Cottage Grove staff member Ken Smith, Cottage Grove businesswoman Mary Slusser, and City Council member Justin Olsen at a ceremony Tuesday declaring the city a Yellow Ribbon Community. Bulletin photo by Jon Avise.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton proclaimed the city of Cottage Grove a Yellow Ribbon Community at a ceremony Tuesday, formally recognizing efforts in the community to build a network of support for the families of deployed military service members.

Cottage Grove's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon committee has constructed a list of more than 100 individuals and local businesses to help the spouses and children of deployed National Guard members with tasks large and small, from mowing the lawn or providing house maintenance to help filing taxes.

On Tuesday, in a proclamation ceremony at an auditorium on the campus of Inver Hills Community College in Inver Grove Heights, the city and committee was formally recognized for its efforts and designated one of the state's 38 Yellow Ribbon communities.

"This is the beginning -- not the end -- of this initiative," Dayton said in remarks during the ceremony. "Now, we need to make this a living reality."

Cottage Grove was among 11 cities recognized Tuesday. Also honored were: Eagan, Inver Grove Heights, Lower St. Croix Valley -- which includes Afton, Lakeland, Lakeland Shores, Lake St. Croix Beach and St. Mary's Point -- Rosemount, Richfield and Plymouth. Inver Hills Community College was named a Yellow Ribbon Company.