Merkley, Wyden Announce Funding for National Guard Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program

PORTLAND, OR – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden announced today that the State of Oregon will receive $1.83 million to fund the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program for the Oregon National Guard through the next 12 months.  The program helps Guard members and their families gain have access to physical and mental health care, substance abuse treatment and prevention and marriage and financial counseling as well as help finding employment. Oregon was one of only eight states to receive the additional funding.

“It’s always a great joy to welcome home the men and women of the Oregon National Guard, but we must remember that for many it’s also a huge challenge,” Merkley said.  “It is our responsibility to help our servicemembers and their families connect with agencies and organizations in their home towns that provide health care, employment services, counseling, and spiritual guidance.  I want the members of Oregon’s National Guard to know that we’re here with them every step of the way.”

“With many members of the Oregon National Guard already back from battle and more on their way later this year, this funding comes as at very important time,” Wyden said. “Not only will it help our soldiers find jobs and deal with mental health issues, it is also is an acknowledgement that Oregon is a leader in helping members of the armed forces transition from military life to family life.”

The Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program was created by Congress in 2008 to help National Guard members and their families take advantage of community support and resources before, during, and after their deployments.  The funding includes financial support for the Oregon Partnership Hotline, a phone line that provides immediate mental health and suicide crisis intervention from a team of veterans and trained volunteer crisis workers.  

In March, Senators Merkley and Wyden and other members of the Senate and the House sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh and Chief of the National Guard Bureau General Craig McKinley in support of the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program and requesting additional funding to allow the program to operate through the remainder of FY2011.